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The Apocryphal New Testament Easy to use collection of English translations of the New Testament Apocrypha.

Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 840

This text is found on one leaf of a miniature parchment book dating from the third century and discovered in 1905. The page is virtually complete, and contains part of a story that is of the synoptic type but does not appear in the canonical New Testament. It is not certain if the fragment belonged originally to a complete apocryphal gospel, or (as Preuschen, ZNW 9 (1908), was inclined to think) a tiny gospel book worn as a substitute for an amulet.

Interest in this fragment has centred on the details of the story, not least the title ‘Saviour’ used of Jesus: this is a title not found in the canonical Gospels. Although early reaction was unfavourable to the historical value of the story, especially as many of the details seemed not to ring true of Jewish practices, Jeremias, following Büchler, emphasized that the alleged inconsistencies are not as convincing as many early scholars believed.

James suggested that the story belonged originally to the Gospel of Peter (cf. also Arundel 404, below); Lagrange linked it to the Gospel according to the Hebrews. Neither suggestion has found wide acceptance.

The translation is of the Greek text as printed by de Santos Otero.

Editions

  • B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt, Fragment of an Uncanonical Gospel from Oxyrhynchus (Oxford, 1908); id. OP 5 (London, 1908).

  • H. B. Swete, Zwei neue Evangelienfragmente (Bonn, 1908; 2Berlin, 1924), 1 3–9 (= Kleine Texte 31, ed. H. Lietzmann). [The other ‘new fragment’ is the Freer Logion (under Agrapha, above).]

Synopses

  • Aland13, 584.

  • Huck–Greeven13, 285.

  • Boismard, 415.

Modern Translations

English

  • James, 29–30.

  • Grant and Freedman, 49–51.

  • Hennecke3, i. 92–4.

  • Hennecke5, i. 94–5.

French

  • Éac, 407–10.

German

  • Hennecke1, 18 and 31 (H. Waitz).

  • Hennecke3, i. 57–8 (J. Jeremias).

  • Hennecke5, i. 81–2 (J. Jeremias and W. Schneemelcher).

Italian

  • Bonaccorsi, i. 36–8.

  • Erbetta, i.1, 105–6.

  • Moraldi, i. 436–8.

Spanish

  • de Santos Otero, 80–2.

General

  • A. Büchler, ‘The New “Fragment of an Uncanonical Gospel” ’, JQR 20 (Philadelphia, 1907–8), 330–46.

  • E. Preuschen, ‘Das neue Evangelienfragment von Oxyrhynchos’, ZNW 9 (1908), 1–11.

  • M. J. Lagrange, ‘Nouveau fragment non canonique relatif à l’Évangile’, Rev. Bib. 5 (1908), 538–53 (with French trans. of text).

  • T. Zahn, ‘Neue Bruchstücke nichtkanonischer Evangelien’, NeuKirZ 19 (1908), 371–86.

  • A. Harnack, ‘Ein neues Evangelienbruchstück’, Preussische Jahrbücher, 131 (Berlin, 1908), 201–10.

  • E. Schürer, ‘Fragment of an uncanonical Gospel’, ThLZ 33 (1908), cols. 170–2.

  • A. Marmorstein, ‘Einige Bemerkungen zum Evangelienfragment in Oxyrhynchus Papyri Vol. V n. 840, 1907 [sic]’, ZNW 15 (1914), 336–8.

  • H. Riggenbach, ‘Das Wort Jesu im Gespräch mit dem pharisäischen Hohenpriester nach dem Oxyrhynchus Fragment V n. 840’, ZNW 25 (1926), 140–4.

  • E. Burrows, ‘Oxyrhynchus Logion (1907 [sic]) V’, JTS 28 (1926–7), 186.

  • R. Dunkerley, ‘The Oxyrhynchus Gospel Fragments’, HTR 23 (1930), 19–37, esp. 30–5.

  • J. Jeremias, ‘Der Zusammenstoss Jesu mit dem pharisäischen Oberpriester auf den Tempelplatz. Zu Pap. Ox V 840’, Con NT 11 (1947), 97–108; id., The Unknown Sayings of Jesus (London, 21964), 9 f., 47–60, 104–5 (commentary). 1 O. Hofius, ‘Unbekannte Jesusworte’, in P. Stuhlmacher (ed.), Das Evangelium und die Evangelien (Tübingen, 1983), 372–3 (= WUNT 28) is more doubtful than Jeremias about the authenticity of the story as a piece of Jesus tradition.

  • D. R. Schwartz, ‘ “Viewing the Holy Utensils”, P. Ox. V, 840’, NTS 32 (1986), 153–9.

. . . before he does wrong he makes all kinds of ingenious excuses. ‘But take care lest you also suffer the same things as they did, for those who do evil not only receive their chastisement from men but they await punishment and great torment.’ Then he took them with him and brought them into the place of purification itself, and was walking in the temple. A Pharisee, a chief priest named Levi, met them and said to the Saviour, ‘Who gave you permission to walk in this place of purification and look upon these holy vessels when you have not bathed and your disciples have not washed their feet? But you have walked in this temple in a state of defilement, whereas no one else comes in or dares to view these holy vessels without having bathed and changed his clothes.’ Thereupon the Saviour stood with his disciples and answered him. ‘Are you then clean, here in the temple as you are?’ He said, ‘I am clean, for I have bathed in the pool of David and have gone down by one staircase and come up by the other, and I have put on clean white clothes. Then I came and viewed the holy vessels.’ ‘Alas’, said the Saviour, ‘you blind men who cannot see! You have washed in this running water, in which dogs and pigs have wallowed night and day, and you have washed and scrubbed your outer skin, which harlots and flute‐girls also anoint and wash and scrub, beautifying themselves for the lusts of men while inwardly they are filled with scorpions and unrighteousness of every kind. But my disciples and I, whom you charge with not having bathed, have bathed ourselves in the living water which comes down from heaven. But woe to those who . . . ’

Notes:

1 O. Hofius, ‘Unbekannte Jesusworte’, in P. Stuhlmacher (ed.), Das Evangelium und die Evangelien (Tübingen, 1983), 372–3 (= WUNT 28) is more doubtful than Jeremias about the authenticity of the story as a piece of Jesus tradition.

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