Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Papyrus 46

Next week I'm traveling to Flint, Michigan to the Schwartz Creek Church of Christ for a gospel meeting. I'm excited about going, since I have never been to Michigan to preach. Mark Aites is the wonderful preacher there.

During the time I'm there, I plan to go over to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to see the UM Papyrus Collection. It is housed in the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library. I have called ahead and hope that all will go well.

I'm particularly interested in the exhibit on the New Testament "From Papyri to King James." I am particularly interested in seeing a leaf from the codex P46, dating from 200 AD. UM owns 30 of the 86 extant leaves of this codex. The other 56 are in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Ireland. This codex was discovered in 1931 and is more than a century older than Sinaiticus or Vaticanus. The leaf I will see displayed contains the opening paragraphs of the Epistle to the Hebrews, preceded by the last line of the Letter to the Romans. P46 is the earliest known codex containing the epistles of Paul. I cannot tell you how I have longed to see this exhibit. I have been waiting four or five years for this trip to Michigan. I'd rather see this papyrus than spit in the Grand Canyon or shake the hand of Mickey Mouse.

This, of course, is a significant argument that the collector of this codex believed Paul wrote Hebrews. It may make us all take a second look at Paul as the author of Hebrews.

A personal note: Jackie (my wife) and Tara (one of my four daughters) are in Oklahoma with Jackie's mother, Bernice Dodgen. Bernice will have surgery on Friday to fix an anuerism. Please keep the family in your prayers. I have a really wonderful mother-in-law. She gave me my wife.

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