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Artefact ID403
TM IDTM 61970
Findspot (DEChriM ID)-   ()
Writing mediumCodex
Text contentLiterary

P.Palau Rib. Lit. 4; Palau-Ribes inv. 163

Fragment (3.8 x 4.8 cm) from a folio containing the Book of Esther 4:4-11.

This is the oldest extant Greek witness to verses 4:8-11 from the Book of Esther. Another early papyrus witness to the Book of Esther, P.Chester Beatty IX (fol. 104 recto, 2/3 c., Afroditopolis), lacks these exact verses.

The script resembles a documentary hand, and abbreviates final nu supralinearly in l. 5 of the recto. One nomen sacrum appears in l. 1 of the verso (for κυριός "Lord"). The folio preserves 7/8 lines on either side of the papyrus fragment.

The text describes the scene in which Esther finds out from Mordecai, through her eunuch Harnak, about the destruction of the Jews orchestrated by Haman. 

Selection criteriaLiterary genre (Biblical), Nomina sacra
Date from250
Date to350
Dating criteria

Palaeography.  The ref. ed. places the text between late 3/early 4th c.

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Findspot and provenance are unknown.

The text was purchased by José O’Callaghan in the 1960s. Since the purchase, the fragment was stored in the Seminary for Papyrology of the Theological Faculty of Sant Cugat del Vallès, before being transferred to Arxiu Històric de la Companyia de Jesús a Catalunya in Barcelona.

Accession number

Barcelona, Palau-Ribes 163


Reference edition:

∙ O'Callaghan, José, ed. 1993. Papiros Literarios Griegos dei Fondo Palau-Ribes. Vol. 1. Institut de Teologia Fonamental. Barcelona. Papyrus no. 4 and plate no. 5. 

Editio princeps:

∙ Daris, Sergio. 1986. "Papiri Palau Ribes." Aegyptus 66 (1/2). 106-107.

Additional bibliography:

∙ Rahlfs, Alfred and Detlef Fraenkel. 2004 (1914). Verzeichnis der griechischen Handschriften des Alten Testaments. Göttingen. 15, descr. no. 869.

Schmidt, T. 2007. Pap. Congr. XXIV, Proceedings of the 24th International Congress of Papyrology, Helsinki, 1—7 August, 2004. Frösén, J., T. Purola and E. Salmenkivi, eds. Helsinki. 986 n. 39

Sofia Heim, 2021
Suggested citation
Sofia Heim, 2021, "Artefact ID 403", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,