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Artefact ID398
TM IDTM 64322
Findspot (DEChriM ID)28   (al-Bahnasā)
Writing mediumCodex
Text contentLiterary

Pap.Congr. XVIII, 1 p. 453-460; Ap23

A papyrus folio containing parts of the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla.

The folio consists of several fragments: It is made up of P.Mich. 1317, P.Mich. 1388, and P.Berol. 13893. Of these, only one (P.Mich. 3788) was described as coming from al-Bahnasā (Oxyrhyncus). The provenance and findspots of the rest remains uknown. 

P.Mich. 1317 (19.8 cm x 6.3 cm) was first published together with P.Berl. 13893 (=P.Berol. inv. 13893, preserves 14 lines of text), as they belong to the same folio. It has a weathered appearance, darkened by dirt and moisture; see ed. pr. (i.e., Sanders 1938). The script is a formal book hand with upright uncials written in the severe style, and the hand prompts the ed. pr. to date the fragment to before the end of the 4th c. Punctuation is marked by mid points, and the text contains severeal nomina sacra. A page number (πς "86") is visible above the beginning of line 1 on the verso, and πε "85" on the recto, both positioned close to what would have been the folding line in the centre of the codex.. The ed. pr. assesses that the fragments must have originated from the second half of a codex.

On the verso 33 lines survive, with 35 on the recto. The original number of lines was 38 lines in the verso, 40 on the recto, which is evident hrough the addition of the final fragment (P.Mich. 3788) which supplies the bottom section of the folio. The ed. pr.  posits that the format would suggest an archetype written in stichoi. Of the nomina sacra, Ισραηλ "Israel" is not contracted. The text partly overlaps with P. Hamburg and P.Oxy XIII 1602 (= Ghent 62, 5th c. Oxyrhynchus), and gives useful indication of the original length of the Acts.

P.Mich. 3788 (6 cm x 3 cm) is a small fragment, published first by Sanders in 1943 who did not identify the content as belonging to the Acts of Paul. The fragment preserves 9 lines on both the recto and the verso, and the script on both sides belongs to the same hand. The text has preserved one nomen sacrum and an apostrophe in l. 5 recto. It belongs to the bottom right edge of P.Mich. 1317/P.Berol. 13893, and has preserved the bottom margin of the folio.

Collectively, they present part of the apocryphal Acts of Paul, and describe how the apostle arrives in Italy (Puteoli). In the scene described, a man by the name of Claudius receivs Paul and the captain of the ship Artemon. There is a gathering of Christians in the house of Claudius, where Paul gives a sermon about Christ and the God of Israel.

Selection criteriaLiterary genre (Non-canonical)
Date from250
Date to350
Dating criteria

Palaeography. The hand in the Biblical majuscule of the Severe Style indicates a date between the second half of the 3rd c. and the second half of the 4th; see ref. ed.

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

The P.Mich. 1317 was purchased from Nahman and reached the University of Michigan in 1923. Provenance and findspot are N/A.
The P.Mich. 3788 was purchased by Prof. Boak in 1925 (see the report of H.I. Bell, dated May 2, 1925). The provenance was indicated as al-Bahnasā (Oxyrhynchus).
P.Berol. 13893 was purchased by Wilhelm Ludwig Schubart in Kairo for the Ägyptisches Museum, 1925. Provenance and findspot are N/A.

Provenance and find sites are generally unknown, except for P.Mich. 3788 (possibly Oxyrhunchus).

Accession number

Ann Arbor, Michigan, University Library, P. 1317 + P. 3788, + Berlin, SMPK Egyptian Museum, P. 13893.


Reference edition:

∙ Rordorf, Willy. 1988. PapCongr. XVIII. Proceedings of the XVIII International Congress of Papyrology, Athens 25—31 May 1986. Mandilaras, B., ed. Greek Papyrological Society, Athens. Papyrus no. 1, 453-460 and plates no. 1-2.

Editiones principes:

∙ Sanders, Henry A. 1938. "A Fragment of the Acta Pauli in the Michigan Collection". Harvard Theological Review 31 (1). 73-90.  (P.Mich. 1317+P.Berol. 13893)

∙ ———. 1943. "Three Theological Fragments (P.Mich. 3788)". The Harvard Theological Review 36 (2). 165-67. (P.Mich. 3788)

∙ Schmidt, C. 1931. "Ein Berliner Fragment der alten ΠΡΑΞΕΙΣ ΠΑΥΛΟΥ". SPAW . 37–40. (P.Berol. 13893)

Additional bibliography:

∙ Aland, Kurt. 1976. Repertorium der griechischen christlichen Papyri: 1. Biblische Papyri: Altes Testament, Neues Testament, Varia, Apokryphen. Apokryphen 23.

∙ Barrier, Jeremy W. 2009. The Acts of Paul and Thecla. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

∙ Geerard, Maurits. 1992. Clavis apocryphorum Novi Testamenti. Turnhout: Brepols. 118, no. 211.i (3) and (4).

Haines-Eitzen, Kim. 2007. “Engendering Palimpsests: Reading the Textual Tradition of the Acts of Paul and Thecla”. The Early Christian Book, Klingshirn, W. and L. Safran, eds. Washington, DC. Catholic University of America Press. 177-193.

∙ Kilpatrick, G.D. and C.H. Roberts. 1946. "The Acta Pauli: A New Fragment". The Journal of Theological Studies 47 (187/188). 196–199. 

∙ McHardy, W. D. 1947. "A Papyrus Fragment of the Acta Pauli." ExpTim 58. 279.

∙ Roberts, Colin H. 1946. "A Fragment of an Uncanonical Gospel". The Journal of Theological Studies 47 (185/186). 56–57.

∙ van Haelst, Joseph. 1976. Catalogue des papyrus littéraires juifs et chrétiens. Paris. Description no. 607 and 608.

∙ Wayment, Thomas A. 2013. The text of the New Testament apocrypha (100-400 CE). London. 17-19 and 223-224.

∙ Zwierlein, O. 2010. "Der Briefwechsel Der Korinther Mit Dem Apostel Paulus (3Kor) Im Papyrus Bodmer X Und Die Apokryphen Paulusakten". Zeitschrift Für Papyrologie Und Epigraphik 175. 84 (image).

∙ ———. 2011. "Griechische Papyri in der Überlieferung der Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha". I papiri letterari cristiani. Bastianini, Casanova, ed. Studi e Testi di Papirologia NS 13. 131-132 and plates no. 13-14.

Sofia Heim, 2021
Suggested citation
Sofia Heim, 2021, "Artefact ID 398", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,