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Artefact ID494
TM IDTM 59353
Findspot (DEChriM ID)-   ()
Writing mediumCodex
Text contentLiterary

PSI VII 757; KV4

Papyrus fragment (6.3 x 11.1 cm) containing the Letter of Barnabas 9.1-6. This is the earliest textual witness to Barnabas' letter, besides Codex Sinaiticus.

The text is written in one column, and contextually the verso precedes the recto. Each column consists of approx. 21 lines, 42 lines survive altogether. 

The ed. pr. does not offer any characteristics of the hand: The script could be described as a flowing, semi-uncial hand containing several ligatures, giving it a slightly documentary appearance; see Kraft 1967: 153. Naldini compares the hand to the script of Codex Sinaiticus; see Naldini 1965: 23.

Besides its rudimentary punctuation (high points and enlarged first letter of the following word), the text contains some idiosyncratic nomina sacra: Words such as θεός and κύριος have been abbreviated as their first letter with a dot (with no further indication of the oblique forms). The more common supralinear stroke is found only in l. 8 (verso) above a "κ" (for κύριος "Lord"). The text also contains two instances of accentuation (l. 36 "ὑμῶν" and 38 "παλὶν"). A word-internal staurogram appears in σκληρυνειτε (for the first rho) in l. 16-17 of the recto.

There is an emphatic sense break in l. 17-18 on the recto: The beginning of l. 18 has been marked by a horizontal stroke, and in l. 17 a delta with a supralinear line appears in the left margin. It is not clear whether this is an alphabetical numeral or an abbreviation of sorts. This marker is followed by an ekthesis of πάντα in l. 18.

The fragment compares closely to the manuscript-family MS G.

Selection criteriaLiterary genre (Theological), Christian symbols/gestures/isopsephy, Nomina sacra
Date from300
Date to450
Dating criteria

Palaeography. The ed. pr. places the fragment in the late 4th c. (and extends the possibility to the early 5th), which is confirmed by  F. Ronconi; see Crisci 2002: no. 152. 

An earliest date (3rd c.) was given by Roberts; see Kraft 1971: 53.

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Provenance is unknown.

Accession number

Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, inv. 18686.


Editio princeps:

∙ Vitelli, Girolamo. 1925. Papiri greci e latini VII. Florence, 40-43, no. 757. 

Additional bibliography:

∙ Aland, Kurt. 1995. Repertorium der Griechischen Christlichen Papyri. II. Kirchenväter. Kirchenväter 4.

∙ Crisci, Edoardo, ed. 2002. Papiri letterari della Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana di Firenze. Cassino: Università degli studi di Cassino, no. 152.

∙ Kraft, Robert A. and P. Prigent, eds. 1971. Epître de Barnabé. Sources chrétiennes 172. Paris, 53.

∙ Kraft, Robert A. 1967. "An Unnoticed Papyrus Fragment of Barnabas". Vigiliae Christianae 21, 150-163.

∙ Naldini, Mario. 1965. Documenti dell'antichità cristiana : papiri e pergamene greco-egizie della Raccolta Fiorentina. Florence: F. Le Monnier. 23-24, no. 26 and pl. 18.

∙ Paget, James Carleton. 1994. The Epistle of Barnabas: Outlook and Background. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr.

∙ Turner, E. G. 1977. The Typology of the early Codex. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 129.

∙ van Haelst, Joseph. 1976. Catalogue des papyrus littéraires juifs et chrétiens. Paris. descr. no. 626.

∙ Wayment, Thomas A. 2013. The text of the New Testament apocrypha (100-400 CE). London, 37-39.

Sofia Heim, 2021
Suggested citation
Sofia Heim, 2021, "Artefact ID 494", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,