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Egerton Gospel

At a Glance
Gospel
Genre:
(3/5) ***
Reliability of Dating:
(2/5) **
Length of Text:
Greek
Original Language:
Ancient Translations:
Modern Translations:

Estimated Range of Dating: 70-120 A.D.

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Information on Egerton Gospel

The Egerton Gospel is also known as Papyrus Egerton 2. It is known from an ancient manuscript that is rivaled only by the John Rylands fragment p52 in its antiquity. Ron Cameron states in his introduction in The Other Gospels, "On paleographical grounds the papyrus has been assigned a date in the first half of the second century C.E. This makes it one of the two earliest preserved papyrus witnesses to the gospel tradition."

Helmut Koester and J. D. Crossan have argued that the Egerton Gospel is independent of our canonical gospels. Jon B. Daniels writes the following in his introduction in The Complete Gospels.

On the one hand, some scholars have maintained that Egerton's unknown author composed by borrowing from the canonical gospels. This solution has not proved satisfactory for several reasons: The Egerton Gospel's parallels to the synoptic gospels lack editorial language peculiar to the synoptic authors, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They also lack features that are common to the synoptic gospels, a difficult fact to explain if those gospels were Egerton's source.

The Egerton Gospel does have very close parallels to John, but because Egerton's versions of these parallels show less development than John's, Egerton may preserve earlier forms of the tradition.

On the other hand, suggestions that the Egerton Gospel served as a souce for the authors of Mark and/or John also lack conclusive evidence. The most likely explanation for the Egerton Gospel's similarities and differences from the canonical gospels is that Egerton's author made independent use of traditional sayings and stories of Jesus that also were used by the other gospel writers.

On dating Egerton, Cameron states: "Since Papyrus Egerton 2 displays no dependence upon the gospels of the New Testament, its earliest possible date of composition would be sometime in the middle of the first century, when the sayings and stories which underlie the New Testament first began to be produced in written form. The latest possible date would be early in the second century, shortly before the copy of the extant papyrus fragment was made. Because this papyrus presents traditions in a less developed form that John does, it was probably composed in the second half of the first century, in Syria, shortly before the Gospel of John was written."


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Kirby, Peter. "Egerton Gospel." Early Christian Writings. <http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/egerton.html>.