What's New in Papyrology

Recent publications of papyri & ostraca 4th BC-8th AD; conferences, lectures etc. from Papy-L and other sources as noted. PLEASE SEND SUGGESTIONS

Sunday, November 24, 2013

SBL 2013 (Baltimore): papers pertaining to papyrology

Digital Presentation, Digital Editing, Digital Community: The Case of Papyrology 
Program Unit: New Testament Textual Criticism
Roger S. Bagnall, New York University

The texts of the Greek documentary papyri were digitized beginning in the early 1980s, following the development of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae but requiring a higher level of complexity in coding to represent the texts and, to a lesser degree, the physical objects. Publication metadata followed later, with the Heidelberger Gesamtverzeichnis, and images and collection metadata (with APIS and similar projects) last, starting in the mid-1990s, as storage became cheaper and bandwidth more available. The unification of these resources into a single form is the product of the past seven years and a multinational team led by Joshua Sosin (Duke University). From it has come the combination of the Papyrological Navigator (PN: at papyri.info) and Papyrological Editor (PE). The development of the online editor marks the transition from online presentation of data created in many cases with very traditional means to a new mode of editing. That transition is still in an early stage, and use of the PE is gradually revealing the challenges it faces. The most important of these is social rather than technological: papyrologists are in effect being called to constitute a new kind of community, with shared responsibility for the maintenance, growth, and improvement of the digital resources on which we all rely. These are in the process of moving away from being “projects” with defined timespans and repetitive grant cycles to being permanent fixtures. We do not yet know how this community will organize itself and what sort of leadership it will require; that discussion is currently underway, and I shall discuss its present state in my paper.

Dating P. Ant 12: What Your Mother Never Told You 
Program Unit: Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
Don Barker, Macquarie University

P.Ant.1.12 is a parchment fragment of a codex that contained 2 John. The dating of P.Ant. 12 by scholars varies greatly. Roberts, compared the hand to P.Lond. Lit.192, P.Oxy. 656 and P.Beatty 10 and dated the hand to III. Cavallo dated P.Ant 12 to first half or middle of fifth century but gave no basis for the dating. Aland listed P.Ant.12 as IV/V, again without giving a reason. M. Kruger has recently dated P.Ant.1.12 to the fifth century because of its size ( 8.8 x 7.3 cm); the script (proto Alexandrian Majuscule); a peculiar nomina sacra and its punctuation. This paper will seek to shift through the dating issues that relate to P.Ant.12 and provide an assessment of a reasonable time period for its production.

Church, Clergy, Controversy, and Community: Christianity at Oxyrhynchus in the Period between c. A.D. 400–650 
Program Unit: Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
Lincoln H. Blumell, Brigham Young University

This paper will attempt to integrate and elucidate the important Christian sources, both papyrological and literary, that relate to the city of Oxyrhynchus between c. A.D. 400 and 650. In particular, this study seeks to highlight key pieces of evidence that relate to Christianity at Oxyrhynchus during this period and will attempt to integrate them in such a way as to construct some sort of overarching narrative for the Christian history of the city. Special emphasis will be given to sources that contribute to a better understanding of influential Christian figures, important churches and monasteries, and evidence for how controversies and schisms that engulfed larger Christianity at this time affected the local Christian community at Oxyrhynchus. As most studies of the Christian remains of Oxyrhynchus have tended to end their investigation with the fourth century the present study seeks to fill a void in scholarship as this later period has never been treated in any systematic or thorough way.

Reading Thomas Backwards: From Nag Hammadi to Oxyrhynchus and Beyond 
Program Unit: Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
Todd Brewer, Durham University

Current debates concerning the Gospel of Thomas principally surround the issue of its date of composition relative to the synoptic gospels. An early Thomas is an independent Thomas, whether it be the wisdom collection of Stevan Davies or the ‘rolling corpus’ model of April DeConick. This is a Thomas that offers another witness to the historical Jesus and a window into the ‘tunnel period’ of early Christianity. A late Thomas is therefore a Thomas which is dependent upon the synoptic Gospels and instead provides vital information about the development of Christianity in the second century. In either case, the theological and historical value of the Gospel of Thomas is primarily assessed according to the answer to this sharp early/late polarity. In this paper I offer what I call a ‘family tree’ model of Thomas’ composition on the basis of a detailed comparison of the Nag Hammadi Coptic text and the Greek fragments from Oxyrhynchus. This comparison will show that, despite their similarity, the textual witnesses of the Gospel of Thomas widely diverge from one another at many points. Consequently, it may be said that there is a single Thomasine tradition, though this tradition consists in multiple editions. Each successive edition of Thomas may retain prior sayings, while giving rise to new and rewritten sayings to offer distinct – and sometimes contradictory – theological positions. Such a compositional procedure can be seen from the extant Coptic text through the Oxyrhynchus fragments to Thomas’ origins. Therefore the dichotomy between an early, independent Thomas and a late, dependent Thomas is inadequate since Thomas is both early and late, independent and dependent.

Early Christian Enslaved Families: Subordinate but Intact, or Highly Vulnerable to Separation? 
Program Unit: Gender, Sexuality, and the Bible
Bernadette J. Brooten, Brandeis University

Most interpreters of the New Testament Household Codes (e.g., Eph 5:22–6:9) construe the separate elements as discrete, i.e., as if the wives, husbands, children, and parents were free, and as if the enslaved persons were not in families. This is in line with early patristic interpretation. In their commentaries on the Ephesians Household Code, John Chrysostom (4th C.) and Theodoret (5th C.) take the wives, husbands, children, and parents as free. Chrysostom explicitly defines enslaved husbands as having authority over their wives, thereby seeing enslaved families as subordinate, but intact. Such interpretation yields the image of a harmoniously managed, slaveholding Christian household, which is exactly what Chrysostom presents. Using the methods of social history and the frameworks of intersectionality theory and of ideological criticism, I challenge this view to reveal the moral dilemmas and contradictions that likely faced enslaved wives, husbands, children, and parents. I first review those Roman legal and papyrological sources that point to efforts to keep enslaved families intact, which would imply at least some recognition of a long-term sexual relationship between the parents and of parents’ authority over their children. In line with Chrysostom’s ideal, some early Christian masters and mistresses may have respected enslaved families as intact. The weight of the historical evidence, however, tends in the direction of the significant vulnerability of enslaved families to separation. Among papyrological sources, I discuss deeds of sale, which are nearly always of individual enslaved persons, sometimes of very young children; and wet-nurse contracts in which enslaved wet nurses were hired out to nurse in another household and separated from their own families, including being prohibited from sex with their infant’s father. A range of sources on enslaved sex work and on masters’ sexual access to their enslaved laborers illustrates another challenge to family life faced by enslaved persons. I also review legal sources on inheritance, which was a vulnerable circumstance for enslaved families, who, except with large estates that could afford to keep enslaved families intact, were at high risk of being inherited by different individuals. Against the backdrop of what were probably frequent scenarios of enslaved Christian families unsuccessfully struggling to keep their families—of whatever constellation—intact and of facing the dilemma how to maintain whatever ideal of sexual continence they saw as incumbent upon themselves as Christians, I will intersectionally analyze specific moral challenges facing members of early Christian enslaved families hearing the Household Codes. My intersectional feminist analysis takes account of legal status as enslaved or free, gender, and status as child or parent (categories that were not legally recognized under Roman law for enslaved persons, except that all children born to enslaved mothers were legally enslaved). Based on this analysis, I will show what is ideologically and theologically at stake in the early patristic view of early Christian enslaved families as inferior, but largely intact (as Chrysostom and Theodoret have it), rather than highly vulnerable to separation and seen as individual extensions of their masters or mistresses.

P39 and the Socio-Economic Spectrum of Christian Manuscripts at Oxyrhynchus in the Early Third Century 
Program Unit: Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
Bart B. Bruehler, Indiana Wesleyan University

This investigation opens with a survey of the socio-economic spectrum of Christian culture in Oxyrhynchus in the early 3rd century. The city had a substantial, active, and diverse Christian population that ranged across the socio-economic spectrum as illustrated by representative 3rd century papyri. At the lower end of the spectrum, we find several scraps of texts and hymns on the back of accounting documents (JEA 11 [1925]; P.Oxy. XV 1786; P.Oxy LXXVII 5106). In the middle, we find lots of fragments, including decently written copies of the Shepherd of Hermas and biblical commentary (P.Oxy. XV 1783 and Van Haelst 0691). On the high end, we find fewer documents, perhaps exemplified in Christian treatises and homilies (P.Oxy. XVII 2070 and P.Oxy. III 406). Thus, the papyri evidence shows a wide range of socio-economic locations for Christians in the 3rd century but mostly weighted toward the middle and lower end of the spectrum. Taking quality as an indicator of cost, P39 (P.Oxy. XV 1780) stands out as an excellent and expensive manuscript. The paper will present a detailed description of this fragment of John 8:14-22 with its wide margins, refined handwriting, and well-spaced letters. As with the broader evidence discussed above, most New Testament papyri of this period appear to fall in the middle (e.g. P20=P.Oxy. IX 1171; P69=P.Oxy XXIV 2383; and many others) or lower (e.g. P13=P.Oxy. IV 657 and P18=P.Oxy. VIII 1911) range of the socio-economic spectrum. P39 is one of the few New Testament manuscripts (perhaps along with P1=P.Oxy. I 1; also compare a copy of Job in P.Oxy. IX 1166) that represents the higher socio-economic strata of Christian culture at Oxyrhynchus in the early 3rd century.

The 'Public' Features of Second- and Second/Third-Century Canonical Gospel Papyri 
Program Unit: New Testament Textual Criticism
Scott Charlesworth, Pacific Adventist University

Second- and second/third-century gospel codices share a number of common characteristics--uniformity in size, hands in the semi-literary to (formative) biblical majuscule range, and the use of text division and punctuation as readers’ aids. When these three factors are present as a group, especially in tandem with checking and correction, controlled production for public use in Christian gatherings is certainly taking place. "Controlled production" can be defined as local quality control of manuscript production. In contrast, codices with informal or documentary hands which lack features conducive to public reading were very probably copied in uncontrolled settings for private use. The public status of second- and second/third-century gospels may be evident on another front. In the second and second/third centuries the preferred size for gospel codices approximated the small Turner Group 9.1 format, while in the third century a size approximating the taller but still portable 8.2 Group format predominated. This finding is remarkable given that other early Christian codices were not produced in standard formats. While the codex was the preferred vehicle for Christian texts in general, gospels seem to have been regarded as a special category. Early Christians acknowledged their importance by using conventional or standard-sized codices.

P46 Tendencies in 2 Corinthians: A Critical Examination of the Oldest and Most Inconsistent Extant Papyrus of the Pauline Corpus 
Program Unit: Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
Timothy J. Christian, Asbury Theological Seminary

A brief review of the published literature on P46 shows that little work has been written on this important witness to the Pauline Corpus. While some attention has been given to Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Galatians (and Hebrews), no one has written upon the tendencies of P46 in 2 Corinthians. Thus, in this paper, I have done a full examination of P46 in 2 Corinthians including its singular readings and found that, contra Fredrick Kenyon who published its editio princeps, P46 does not tend to be in alignment with the Alexandrian witness, but rather is wholly inconsistent in (1) giving the original reading according to the NU text and (2) in its agreement with the other extant NT MSS. Overall, I argue that the lasting tendency of P46 is to be inconsistent.

P46 Tendencies in 2 Corinthians: A Critical Examination of the Oldest and Most Inconsistent Extant Papyrus of the Pauline Corpus 
Program Unit: Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
Timothy J. Christian, Asbury Theological Seminary

A brief review of the published literature on P46 shows that little work has been written on this important witness to the Pauline Corpus. While some attention has been given to Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Galatians (and Hebrews), no one has written upon the tendencies of P46 in 2 Corinthians. Thus, in this paper, I have done a full examination of P46 in 2 Corinthians including its singular readings and found that, contra Fredrick Kenyon who published its editio princeps, P46 does not tend to be in alignment with the Alexandrian witness, but rather is wholly inconsistent in (1) giving the original reading according to the NU text and (2) in its agreement with the other extant NT MSS. Overall, I argue that the lasting tendency of P46 is to be inconsistent.

Reconsideration of the War Scroll in a Liturgical Opisthograph From Qumran 
Program Unit: Qumran
Daniel K. Falk, University of Oregon

A very fragmentary papyrus scroll has a copy of Festival Prayers (4Q509+505) on the recto, and on the verso has a copy (or excerpt) of the War Scroll (4Q496) added not many years later (both dated paleographically around the second quarter of the 1st c. BCE). About a century later, someone added to the verso a copy of prayers for days of the week known as Words of the Luminaries (4Q506). What is especially intriguing about this scroll is that the prayers on both sides are form-critically of the same type, with a statement of occasion (“Prayer for the festival of n.”; “Prayer for the n day”), opening with the prayer formula “Remember, O Lord…,” and concluding with the benediction form “Blessed be the Lord who…” It is by no means accidental that these two collections of prayers with the same form for different occasions end up on front and back of the same scroll: they constitute an intentional collection in a personal scroll. This could suggest that the War Scroll – sandwiched between these two – was used as a liturgical text in some way. This paper will reconsider this intriguing but poorly preserved scroll with regard especially to what light it may shed on the possibility of ritual use of the War Scroll. A liturgical function for the War Scroll has occasionally been argued in the past (e.g., Carmignac, North, Krieg, Zhu-En Wee), on the basis of literary and redactional features. This paper will focus on data to be gleaned from the physical characteristics and scribal practices attested in the scroll as a ritual artifact. The investigation will consider whether it is possible to gain a better reconstruction of the scroll a whole, and whether it is likely the scroll contained a complete copy of the War Scroll, an excerpt, or an early version.

The Derveni Papyrus and Its Relevance for Biblical Studies
Program Unit: Corpus Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti
John T. Fitzgerald, University of Notre Dame

This paper provides an introduction to the Derveni papyrus and indicates some of its relevance for biblical studies. The Derveni papyrus, which was the first papyrus to be discovered in Greece, was found in 1962 at a site near Derveni, a mountain pass located approximately 12 km. to the northeast of Thessaloniki. The papyrus dates from the period 350-300 BCE and was discovered in the debris of a funeral pyre that had been lit near a tomb that dates from ca. 300 BCE. The original composition comes from ca. 400 BCE, with the bulk of the work devoted to a thoroughgoing allegorical interpretation of an Orphic poem written ca. 500 BCE. In addition to the papyrus, attention will be given to a magnificent krater, known as the Derveni krater, that was found in another tomb in the nearby area; this krater, which has extensive Dionysiac iconography, provides additional evidence for Orphic theology and beliefs regarding the afterlife.

Readers’ Aids and Other Scribal Practices in Codex Tchacos 
Program Unit: Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism
Lance Jenott, Universitetet i Oslo

While a large amount of attention has been paid to the texts of Codex Tchacos, and especially the Gospel of Judas, with questions concerning the theological views and possible social settings of their original authors (often assumed to have written in Greek in the second and third centuries), this presentation will focus instead on Codex Tchacos as a physical artifact of Egyptian Christianity from the fourth century, and what it reveals about Christian scribal culture at that time. Along with visuals, I will present an overview of the scribal practices employed in copying the manuscript, including various systems of punctuation (dicolons, diplai, empty spaces), page numbers, ekthesis, coronis marks, special ligatures, nomina sacra, so-called diplai sacra, and crucifix iconography. Comparisons will be made with roughly contemporary papyri, including manuscripts discovered near Dishna and Nag Hammadi.

The Status of the Coptic Manuscripts from Oxyrhynchus 
Program Unit: Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
Alexander Kocar, Princeton University

In this presentation, we will focus on the current status of the Coptic materials from the Oxyrhynchus collection. We will provide an overview of the Coptic texts in the collection, briefly introduce some newly discovered manuscripts, and discuss prospects for future research.

“I Courted Nikaia . . . but Her Father Gave Her to Another Man”: On Being a Judean Woman in Hellenistic Egypt 
Program Unit: Hellenistic Judaism
Rob Kugler, Lewis & Clark College

Among the many things that the Judean politeuma papyri from second century BCE Herakleopolis, Egypt teach us is something of the position held by the women of Judean communities in the Hellenistic Egyptian world. Although we hear from them mostly through the voices of men, the women of the Judean community in Herakleopolis still testify revealingly to the opportunities and challenges they experienced in their hybrid cultural setting. From Nikaia who was won over by one man’s courtship but given by her father to another, to Philista whose Judean husband may have tried to use her as the bearer of a loan he made to fellow Judeans, to Berenike who in her own name sued a Judean man for failing to pay the purchase price of slave and the sum of a wet nurse contract, to still others with equally vivid stories to tell—they all reveal a wealth of insight on their daily lives and circumstances. Reading the women of the papyri in light of what scholars imagine to have been the prevailing gender ideologies of the place and time, we see how Judean women in second century BCE Egypt both lived within and tested the boundaries of those frameworks, and we are invited to adjust our judgment of them—the women and the frameworks—accordingly.

The Emergence of the Codex and the Formation of the Pauline Corpus 
Program Unit: Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
Benjamin Laird, University of Aberdeen

In the last century scholars such as John Knox, Edgar Goodspead, Charles Buck, and C. Leslie Mitton have concluded that the initial publication of the Pauline corpus was likely produced on two scrolls rather than on a single codex. Many of the scholars who have embraced this theory have speculated that the original arrangement of the Pauline letters was much different than what can be found in modern biblical translations as well as early witnesses such as P46 which arranged the epistles in the order of decreasing length. One common conclusion which has been made by these scholars is that the initial publication of Paul’s letters would have separated Romans from the Corinthian letters in order that both scrolls might contain a nearly equal amount of material. It was only after the codex was introduced, it has been suggested, that an arrangement of the letters based solely on length was first introduced. In recent decades, however, it has become increasingly apparent that Christian communities adopted the codex much earlier than was previously assumed. It would seem that not only did Christian communities begin to make use of the codex from an early time, but that they preferred it almost exclusively over the scroll. The fact that very few of the oldest extant New Testament papyri were written on scrolls stands in contrast to the preference for the scroll which may be observed in secular literature. In fact, it would appear that in Christian circles, the codex reached a preferred status several centuries before it did so elsewhere. This paper will discuss the possible basis for the early Christian acceptance of the codex as well as the implications the early use of the codex may have had on the initial publication and circulation of the Pauline corpus.

P.Tebt. 894 and Pauline Christianity 
Program Unit: Pauline Epistles
Richard Last, University of Toronto

Some of our information concerning associations comes from Egyptian papyrus accounts. These documents provide detailed records of what associations did, what they ate, what they drank, where they met, and who paid for what when they met. Unlike honorific decrees, group bylaws, and membership lists, association accounts provide us with details of unspectacular features of typical collegium assemblies that Paul perhaps takes for granted while writing to his Christ-groups. P.Tebt 894 (Tebtunis, Egypt; 114 BCE) is our largest surviving association account. It contains information about over 40 meetings the group held. This paper gives a close reading of the papyrus, which has hitherto never been done, and argues that the Tebtunis club represents a financially-modest group rather than a type of "middling" association typically found in the epigraphical sources. The activities undertaken by the Tebtunis group suggest new ways to think about Paul's groups, especially procedure at meetings, financial support and accounting processes, and the social status of their members

Crashing and Burning in Ancient Love Magic: A Comparison of Graeco-Roman and Jewish Forms of Love Magic from a Cognitive Perspective 
Program Unit: Mind, Society, and Religion in the Biblical World
Gabriel Levy, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

The manipulation and regulation of emotion, in particular those emotions associated with love, was one of the most important uses of magic in the Biblical world. Surprisingly there has been no research on this common aspect of magic from a cognitive perspective. This paper initiates research into ancient love magic from a cognitive perspective. First, we gather the extant material evidence for the use of love magic, primarily from corpora in the Cairo Genizah and the Greek Magical Papyri, in order to compare its use in Graeco-Roman and Hebrew-Arabic-Aramaic traditions (broadly Jewish). After a general comparison of the nature of love magic in the two corpora, we then explore three fundamental areas of overlap that can be approached from a cognitive perspective. The first theme we explore is the meta-discursive reflection on the efficacy of magic within the texts themselves. For example, in both corpora many of the magical formulae and instructions evaluate the relative efficacy of the very spell they are describing, appending such terms as “proven” or “proper.” We explore this from the perspective of cognitive dissonance and its more recent revisions since Festinger proposed the idea in the 1950s. Second, we explore the ubiquitous use in both corpora of fire and burning both as a material component in the magical rituals themselves and also in the form of the metaphorical derivatives about fire in reflections about love (e.g. burning as indicative of passionate desire, or alternatively as indicative of anger). Fire has been an interest for cognitive theories of language at least since Lakoff (1987). We will use cognitive metaphor theory in addition to evolutionary arguments about fire to explore some reasons why fire has such a central place. Third, and no less importantly, we analyze the texts according to the sex of the sender and receiver. There is evidence from one of the most well supported theories from evolutionary psychology, “parental investment theory,” that due to the fact that men are uncertain about their own paternity, men and woman have differential reactions to the possibility of infidelity by their sexual partners. One proposed result is that men often feel more jealousy when suspecting sexual infidelity while woman tend to feel more in response to emotional infidelity. Love magic is a useful way to test the theory in the historical record. It also opens up some very important ideas from evolutionary biology about the emotional relations between the sexes that have gone rather unexplored in Biblical studies. There is a tendency in Biblical literature to associate love, fire, and jealousy, as expressed in the most famous verse from Song of Songs (8:6): “. . . love is fierce as death, jealousy hard as sheol; its flames are flames of fire, a divine flame.” Likewise, Graeco-Roman genres that have intersections with magical texts use fire imagery in a similar nexus of love and jealousy, for example when Tibullus writes of his wish that "winds and fire" destroy the wealth of women who deny their lovers access.

"Ten Thousand Monks and Twenty Thousand Nuns": Meeting Monastics at Oxyrhynchus 
Program Unit: Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
AnneMarie Luijendijk, Princeton University

In the late fourth-century, the author of the Historia Monachorum in Aegypto, the main literary testimony of Christians at Oxyrhynchus, boasts that the city abounds with monasteries, both within its walls and outside. He even claims that almost as many monks as lay people inhabit the city, with “ten thousand monks and twenty thousand nuns” under the bishop’s jurisdiction. Scholars generally take this statement as an exaggeration. My paper investigates the documentary evidence for monasticism at Oxyrhynchus in relation to this passage.

The Concept of ‘Community’ and Papyrological Evidence: Oxyrhynchus and Antinoë as Case Studies 
Program Unit: North American Association for the Study of Religion
AnneMarie Luijendijk, Princeton University

The paper uses the papyrological evidence for Christians at Oxyrhynchus and the papyrological, literary, and archaeological evidence from Antinoë (especially regarding the shrine of Saint Colluthus) to discuss methodological issues around constructing Christian communities at these sites.

Scribal Culture and Paratextual Features in the Nag Hammadi and Dishna Codices 
Program Unit: Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
Hugo Lundhaug, Universitetet i Oslo

The discoveries of the Nag Hammadi Codices in 1945 and the Dishna hoard in 1952, reportedly made only 12 kilometers apart, in close vicinity of several late antique monastic settlements, have had considerable impact on scholarship in various fields of Early Christian and Biblical Studies. With the notable exception of James M. Robinson’s pioneering work, however, these discoveries have largely been treated in isolation, within separate fields and scholarly subcommunities. Seldom have codices from the two discoveries been directly compared and their relationship discussed. This paper will contribute to such a study by comparing certain scribal features of the Nag Hammadi and Dishna codices with a view to illuminating the scribal culture(s) on display. The primary focus will be on paratextual features such as titles, layout, sigla, and marginalia.

Christian Literary Papyri from Oxyrhynchus 
Program Unit: Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
Brent Nongbri, Macquarie University

This paper will examine the Greek Christian literary papyri found at Oxyrhynchus. In addition to addressing issues of format, palaeography, and dating, the paper will attempt to relate this literary material with the non-literary Christian papyri from Oxyrhynchus.

ECM – John 
Program Unit: Novum Testamentum Graecum: Editio Critica Maior
Ulrich Schmid, Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal/Bethel

215 manuscript copies of John (papyri, majuscules, minuscules, lectionaries) have been fully transcribed and are available on a dedicated website. Moreover, a variant apparatus constructed from these witnesses has been compiled and is being augmented with patristic and versional data. This presentation will show the current state of this work and discuss the tools and state of progress and provisional findings of the research.

Female Diplomats in Jewish Elephantine? A New Look at a Papyrus from the Jedaniah Archive 
Program Unit: Women in the Biblical World
Caryn Tamber-Rosenau, Vanderbilt University

This paper reexamines a fragmentary Aramaic letter on papyrus from the Jedaniah communal archive, which documents the life of a Jewish military colony from the island of Elephantine (Egypt) in the fifth century B.C.E. under Persian rule. The document, TAD A4.4, tells a tale of intrigue involving burglaries, arrests, and failed diplomacy. Many details of the letter escape us on account of the incomplete nature of the text, but it is clear that five men and six women from Elephantine (Syene), with a mix of Yahwistic and non-Yahwistic names, were seized at the gate in Thebes. Scholars have tried to envision the background of the letter, unusual not only in the co-occurrence of apparently Jewish and non-Jewish names but also in the presence of both men and women among the Thebes arrestees. Scholarly treatments have tended to discuss the women’s presence at Thebes as an ancillary fact, as if they were merely wives and daughters along with their men on a business trip. This paper will analyze the internal evidence of TAD A4.4, bring to bear other contemporary material from Elephantine, and propose alternatives for the role of the captured women at Thebes. The paper will argue that TAD A4.4 provides further insight into the roles of women in Elephantine, and it will discuss how and why their roles in this environment might differ from those implied in biblical texts of this period.

Christian Prayer at Oxyrhynchus 
Program Unit: Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
Michael P. Theophilos, Australian Catholic University

The form and content of Christian prayers preserved in fragmentary papyri from Oxyrhynchus contribute to a distinct picture of an emerging and divergent form of early Christianity. This paper will provide a richly illustrated comparative and structural analysis of Christian prayer at Oxyrhynchus, and compare these findings with an examination of the form and function of non-Christian prayers from the same period. In doing so, the pervasive influence of similar non-Christian prayer formulae will be demonstrated at the level of structure, syntax, and titular vocabulary. The preliminary conclusions reached regarding the Oxyrhynchus material will then be juxtaposed with contemporaneous comparative Christian liturgical and individual prayers preserved on papyri from other locations (including texts from the Fayum, Karanis, Kellis, and Hermopolis). This will determine whether our findings of a porous interchange of prayer formulations between Christian and non-Christian prayers at Oxyrhynchus are more broadly attested throughout Egypt and the Mediterranean world or are demonstrably a local trait of the city of Oxyrhynchus.

Letters of Recommendation: A Literary Analysis of the Documentary Papyri and Its Relation to the Corinthians
Program Unit: Papyrology and Early Christian Backgrounds
David I. Yoon, McMaster Divinity College

It may be unintentional or subconscious when contemporary readers of Scripture interpret the ancient text according to modern cultural notions. Certainly, regarding the ancient letter of recommendation, it is tempting for a modern interpreter to understand the statements in 2 Corinthians in light of contemporary conceptions of letters of recommendation, especially in light of the academic contexts most interpreters are associated with. Drawing upon the epistolary work by Clinton Keyes and Chan Hie Kim, as well as the literary theory of Norman Peterson, and by examining a selection of the documentary papyri, this article attempts to understand the nature of the ancient letter of recommendation to construct a hypothetical letter of recommendation that the writer of 2 Corinthians would be referring to in 2 Cor 3:1–2 to provide a clearer picture of what is meant when the writer calls the Corinthians his letter of recommendation.