Egerton Papyrus

Among a collection of papyri purchased in the summer of 1934 and included in the Egerton collection, there were found to be some fragments from a codex of a life of Christ written in Greek. The four pieces surviving show clear affinities to a number of passages from the synoptic gospels and John's gospel. Two of them deal with questions of the relationship between Jesus and the Law, and one with the healing of a leper, while the detail of the last is uncertain. On palaeographical grounds they must be assigned to a date not later than a.d. 150, and it is possible that they may have been written some years earlier. The provenance of the fragments is unknown, though there are some similarities to the Oxyrhynchus* fragments. The fragments are of particular importance in helping to provide a limit to the possible late dating of the four gospels. They are clearly dependent upon the canonical works, and time must be allowed for the circulation and acceptance of those after writing, before another work such as this, of which we may not have the first copy, could be written drawing upon them.

See H.I. Bell and T.C. Skeat, Fragments of an Unknown Gospel and Other Early Christian Papyri (1935) and The New Gospel Fragments (1935).