Get Social With Us



Artefact ID505
TM IDTM 61318
Findspot (DEChriM ID)67   (Idfū)
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentLiterary

Irenaeus Papyrus; KV47; Mertens-Pack 09445.000; Eirene 3 (1964): 51-109

A group of fragments from a papyrus roll containing Irenaeus Against Heresies (book 5) 3.2 - 13.3.

The text appears to be a palimpsest, and the lower (original) text is almost completely effaced. The surviving texts are preserved on approx. fifty fragments, and the original roll is estimated to have been 23-24 cm tall with 48/49 lines of text per column (see Van Haelst 1976: 674).

Greek copies of Irenaeus's work, Aganist Heresies, are uncommon. Another fragment (of book 3) is found in P.Oxy. III 405 (early 3rd c., Oxyrhynchus).

The papyrus roll appears to have been reused to copy the text of Irenaeus. On the recto, there are 7 columns of text, of which 6 are consecutive. On the verso, there are 2 additional columns of the text of Irenaeus, as well as two columns with a different text (mythological) concerning Horus and Osiris (P.Eirene I 2). These two columns are written in an earlier script (around the 3rd c.), and appear to comprise the original text of the roll. This is somewhat peculiar, given that the text was written on the verso of an unused book roll.

The hand (of text of Irenaeus) is an informal majuscule.

Selection criteriaLiterary genre (Theological)
Date from275
Date to350
Dating criteria

Palaeography. The ed. pr. places the fragments of Irenaeus in the 4th c., while Uebel places within 250-350; see Uebel 1964. 

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Purchased in Edfu in January of 1911 (see Uebel 1964: 51 n. 2).

Accession number

Jena, Institut für Altertumswissenschaften der Universität, 18 Ro + 21 Ro (P.Jen.Inv. Irenaeus)


Reference edition:

∙ Uebel, Fritz. 1964. "Der Jenaer Irenauspapyrus. Ergebnisse einer Rekonstruktion und Neuausgabe des Textes". Eirene 3. Prague, 51-109 and plates no. 1-6.  

Editio princeps:

∙ Lietzmann, Hans. 1912. "Der Jenaer Irenaeus-Papyrus". Nachrichten der Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, phil.-hist. Klasse 3. 292-320 and plates no. 10-11.

Additional bibliography:

∙ Aland, Kurt. 1995. Repertorium der Griechischen Christlichen Papyri. II. Kirchenväter. Kirchenväter 47.

∙ Carlig, N. 2016. "Les rouleaux littéraires grecs composites profanes et chrétiens (début du IIIe – troisième quart du VIe siècle)". PapCongr.  XXVIII. Barcelona. 367-368.

∙ Funghi, M. S. and E. Giannarelli. 1998. "P.Ien.Irenaeus Verso: Una polemica sulla mortalitei degli dei pagani?". Eirene 34 (1998). Praha. 9-30.

∙ Hemmerdinger, Bertrand. 1965. "Note sur deux fragments grecs de Saint Irénée". Revue Des Études Grecques 78 (371/373). 620.

∙ Hurtado, Larry. 2006. The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins. Grand Rapids, Michigan, 225, no. 90.

∙ Rousseau, Adelin, L. Doutreleau and C. Mercier, eds. 1969. Irénée de Lyon: Contre les hérésies, Livre V. Tome I: Introduction, notes justificatives, tablesSources chrétiennes 152. 119-157 and 355-377.

∙ Uebel, F. 1970.  Proceedings of the Twelfth International Congress of Papyrology, Ann Arbor, 13—17 August 1968. Toronto. 492.

∙ van Haelst, Joseph. 1976. Catalogue des papyrus littéraires juifs et chrétiens. Paris, descr. no. 672.

Sofia Heim, 2021
Suggested citation
Sofia Heim, 2021, "Artefact ID 505", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,