The Rylands Library Papyrus P52, also known as the St. John’s fragment, is a fragment from a Greek papyrus codex, which was a sewn and folded book. It has the accession reference Papyrus Rylands Greek 457.
About Rylands Library Papyrus P52
The Papyrus measures 3.5 by 2.5 inches at its widest
The Rylands Library Papyrus P52 is located with the Rylands Papyri at the John Rylands University Library in Manchester, UK. The papyrus has been on permanent display in the library’s Deansgate building since 2007.
The front (recto) contains parts of seven lines from John 18:31–33, and the back (verso) contains parts of seven lines from John 18:37–38.
Below, the bold sections are what can be seen on the Rylands Library Papyrus P52.
Front – John 18:31-33
ΟΙ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΟΙ ΗΜΕΙΝ ΟΥΚ ΕΞΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΠΟΚΤΕΙΝΑΙ
ΟΥΔΕΝΑ ΙΝΑ Ο ΛΟΓΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΙΗΣΟΥ ΠΛΗΡΩΘΗ ΟΝ ΕΙ-
ΠΕΝ ΣΗΜΑΙΝΩΝ ΠΟΙΩ ΘΑΝΑΤΩ ΗΜΕΛΛΕΝ ΑΠΟ
ΘΝΗΣΚΕΙΝ ΙΣΗΛΘΕΝ ΟΥΝ ΠΑΛΙΝ ΕΙΣ ΤΟ ΠΡΑΙΤΩ-
ΡΙΟΝ Ο ΠΙΛΑΤΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΕΦΩΝΗΣΕΝ ΤΟΝ ΙΗΣΟΥΝ
ΚΑΙ ΕΙΠΕΝ ΑΥΤΩ ΣΥ ΕΙ O ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥ-ΔΑΙΩN
the Jews, “For us it is not permitted to kill
anyone,” so that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he
spoke signifying what kind of death he was going to
die. Entered therefore again into the Praeto-
rium Pilate and summoned Jesus
and said to him, “Thou art king of the Jews?”
Back – John 18:37-38
ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΕΙΜΙ ΕΓΩ ΕΙΣ TOΥΤΟ ΓΕΓΕΝΝΗΜΑΙ
ΚΑΙ (ΕΙΣ ΤΟΥΤΟ) ΕΛΗΛΥΘΑ ΕΙΣ ΤΟΝ ΚΟΣΜΟΝ ΙΝΑ ΜΑΡΤΥ-
ΡΗΣΩ ΤΗ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ ΠΑΣ Ο ΩΝ ΕΚ ΤΗΣ ΑΛΗΘΕI-
ΑΣ ΑΚΟΥΕΙ ΜΟΥ ΤΗΣ ΦΩΝΗΣ ΛΕΓΕΙ ΑΥΤΩ
Ο ΠΙΛΑΤΟΣ ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ ΚΑΙ ΤΟΥΤΟ
ΕΙΠΩΝ ΠΑΛΙΝ ΕΞΗΛΘΕΝ ΠΡΟΣ ΤΟΥΣ ΙΟΥ-
ΔΑΙΟΥΣ ΚΑΙ ΛΕΓΕΙ ΑΥΤΟΙΣ ΕΓΩ ΟΥΔΕΜΙΑΝ
ΕΥΡΙΣΚΩ ΕΝ ΑΥΤΩ ΑΙΤΙΑΝ
a King I am. For this I have been born
and (for this) I have come into the world so that I would test-
ify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth
hears of me my voice.” Said to him
Pilate, “What is truth?” and this
having said, again he went out unto the Jews
and said to them, “I find not one
fault in him.”
There is debate concerning the date of ”Rylands Library Papyrus P52”, but there is general agreement that it was written during the first half of the second century (between AD 100–150).
Significance of Rylands Library Papyrus P52
The Rylands Library Papyrus P52 is significant because it helps establish an early date for the writing of the gospels. From this papyrus, we know that the book of John was written no later than the first half of the second century and that the other gospels were written even earlier than this.
Because the papyrus has such an early date, it gives us greater confidence in the reliable transmission of the Bible throughout history.
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