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Fayyum Fragment

At a Glance
(2/5) **
Reliability of Dating:
(1/5) *
Length of Text:
Original Language:
Ancient Translations:
Modern Translations:

Estimated Range of Dating: 70-200 A.D.

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Information on Fayyum Fragment

Jack Finegan writes (Hidden Records of the Life of Jesus, p. 210):

The Rainer Gospel Papyrus was discovered in 1885 by G. Bickell in the papyrus collection of Archduke Rainer in Vienna. This is only a small fragment (Fig. 8) bearing little more than one hundred characters in Greek. Since it came from the Fayum in Egypt it is sometimes known as the Fayum Fragment. From hte handwriting it is judged to belong to the last decades of the third century. The text is plainly parallel to Mt 26:30-35 = Mk 14:26-31, and restorations which seem justified by comparison with the canonical record are included in the transcription of the text which follows. The first line in particular, it may be noted, is very difficult to read, and the transcription and restoration are the most uncertain there.

Wilhelm Schneemelcher writes (New Testament Apocrypha, vol. 1, p. 102):

In the papyrus collection of the Archduke Rainer in Vienna G. Bickell found in 1885 a fragment of the 3rd century (PVindob. G 2325) which caused considerable sensation, the opinion being that it provided a first step to the formation of the Synoptic Gospels (cf. Mark 14:27, 29f.). The publication of the papyrus (Mittheilungen aus der Sammlung der Papyrus Erzh. Rainer I, 1887, 54-61) was followed by a wealth of hypotheses (cf. literature in NTApo Hdb, p. 21 and NTApo2, p. 38). But here also a secondary, indeed an abridged, rendering of the synoptic material has to be assumed, and the text must be considered an excerpt or fragment of a gospel hitherto unknown to us. The brevity of the fragment forbids sure statements of any kind: the completions also remain questionable.

Jack Finegan writes (op. cit., p. 212): "As compared with the canonical parallels it is evident that the Rainer fragment presents an abbreviated account but has no independent information to add. It must, therefore, be judged dependent upon Mt and Mk, but whether this was true throughout the larger Gospel, of which the fragment was presumably a part, cannot be ascertained since only so tiny a piece has survived."

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Kirby, Peter. "Fayyum Fragment." Early Christian Writings. <>.