Rylands Library Papyrus P52 | Bible Answers

The John Rylands Library Papyrus P52 is a fragment from a Greek papyrus codex. It contains parts of lines from John 18:31–33 and lines from John:37–38.
Textual Criticism
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What is Rylands Library Papyrus P52?

What else is it called?

The Rylands Library Papyrus P52 is also known as the St. John's fragment and has the accession reference Papyrus Rylands Greek 457. It is a fragment from a Greek papyrus codex.

How large is it?

It measures only 3.5 by 2.5 inches at its widest.

Where is it located?

The Rylands Library Papyrus P52 is located with the Rylands Papyri at the John Rylands University Library in Manchester, UK. This papyrus has been on permanent display in the library's Deansgate building since 2007.

What does it contain?

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.

Front - Greek text

Not all of the Greek text of John 18:31-33 is visible on the front of Rylands Library Papyrus P52. The bolded text below is what is visible on the papyrus.

ΟΙ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΟΙ ΗΜΕΙΝ ΟΥΚΕΞΕΣΤΙΝ 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

What is the significance of the Rylands Library Papyrus P52?

Although there is debate on the subject, it is generally dated to the first half of the second century, or sometime between 100-150 CE.

The Rylands manuscript helps establish an early date for the writing of the gospels. If the book of John was written in the first half of the second century, then that means that the other gospels would have been written even earlier than that. This manuscript gives us greater confidence in the reliable transmission of the Bible throughout history.

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