Papyrus 46

Leaf from Papyrus 46The earliest substantial New Testament manuscript known to exist is a slightly mutilated codex of Paul's epistles from about the year 200. It consists of eighty-six leaves, measuring originally about 11 by 6 inches. It is thought originally to have contained 104 leaves, with eighteen leaves now missing from the front and back. The existing leaves contain (in this order) the last eight chapters of Romans; all of Hebrews; virtually all of 1–2 Corinthians; all of Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians; and two chapters of 1 Thessalonians. All of the leaves have lost some lines at the bottom through deterioration.

Leaves of the manuscript first came to light in 1930 among the wares of a native antiquities vendor in Cairo, and these were immediately purchased by a private collector, Mr. Chester Beatty of London. Soon afterwards the rest of the manuscript was acquired from the same dealer by Beatty and by representatives of the University of Michigan. 30 of the leaves are now at the University of Michigan and 56 are in the Chester Beatty Collection in Dublin, Ireland. The leaf shown here, from the University of Michigan, contains 2 Cor. 11:33-12:9. Click here for a larger image with transcription and comments on the text. To view high resolution images of all the pages at the University of Michigan go here.