St John's Gospel
the earliest papyri


Rylands P52

This Fragment of the Gospel of John is one of The John Rylands Library's most famous artefacts. While small, it provides a wealth of information and is widely regarded as the earliest portion of any New Testament writing ever found. It provides evidence on the spread of Christianity in the provinces of the Roman Empire in the first centuries of the Common Era.

Beatty P46

University of Michigan: "
this codex is among the most important examples of early New Testament manuscripts"

Bodmer P66

Harvard Theological Review, V51, Issue 2:
"The importance of Papyrus Bodmer II, to be designated P66 for textual studies can scarcely be overlooked, even in an age accustomed to startling discoveries in the biblical field."

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Bodmer P66
14.1 x 16.8cm approximately

Papyrus 66 is one of the oldest, best preserved New Testament manuscripts known to exist, originally dated to the early third century on the basis of the style of the codex's Greek script. It is a near complete codex of the Gospel of John, and part of the collection known as the Bodmer Papyri.

The large central fragment within this group of fragments depicts John 19.25 (recto) and John 19.31 (verso).

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Chester Beatty P46
20.3 x 13.9cm approximately

Papyrus fragment P46, in Greek, is one of the oldest extant New Testament manuscripts with its 'most probable date' between 175 and 225. It is the oldest surviving almost complete copy of the Pauline Epistles.

Eighty-six of its original 112 folios survive and are divided between the Chester Beatty Library (56) and the University of Michigan (30). This fragment contains text from Paul's Letter to the Romans (left, Romans 6.5-14) and the beginning of Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians (right, 1 Thessalonians 5.5-9).

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John Rylands P52
5.8 x 8.7cm approximately

Papyrus P52, also known as the St John's fragment, is from a papyrus codex conserved with the Rylands Papyri at the John Rylands University Library, Manchester, UK. The front (recto) contains parts of seven lines in Greek from the Gospel of John 18:31-33 and the back (verso) contains parts of seven lines from verses 37-38. Rylands P52 is generally accepted as the earliest extant record of a canonical New Testament text.

The original editor proposed a date range of 100-150 CE; while Pasquale Orsini and Willy Clarysse proposed a date for P52 of 125-175 CE. In 1934, Colin H. Roberts, the noted classical scholar and publisher, found comparator hands in dated papyri between the late 1st and mid 2nd centuries.


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P46 - SIDE

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P46 - BACK

The Lucite enclosure is held together with magnets and can be easily opened to remove the fragments.
Aluminium legs enable vertical or horizontal display.

Facsimile Editions’ ethos is to make reproductions that are virtually indistinguishable from the originals. However, whereas the originals are locked away and unavailable for scrutiny, our facsimiles can be handled and studied by scholars and collectors.

Trying to reproduce the look, feel and effect of papyrus posed considerable technical challenges and ultimately proved impossible. There was no alternative but to source real papyrus of extraordinarily high quality from the banks of the River Nile, where it has been made in the same way for some 6,000 years. After months of research and testing, we eventually found papyrus with the right characteristics of surface and texture.

Printing on both sides of real papyrus proved challenging. Modern printing presses are high-tech engineering wonders capable of producing outstanding results, but they need to be fed with equally high-tech material made with a uniform surface and density, and a constant thickness measured in microns - papyrus fails on all counts! Considerable research and lateral thinking eventually led to a process that we had not previously considered. Curators tell us that the fragments are astonishingly similar to the originals and need significant magnification to be revealed as facsimiles.

After printing, the fragments are precisely cut with lasers and aged by hand at the edges. They are finally placed in custom-made acrylic mounts which can be displayed both vertically and horizontally. The mounts are held together by barely-visible magnets so that the fragments can be removed if required. Aluminium legs enable mounts to be displayed either vertically or horizontally.

Many of the world’s major treasures, such as these papyri, are not permitted to travel, so fine copies are made specifically for important exhibitions. Facsimile Editions’ Dead Sea Scrolls for example, printed in both paper and parchment
editions, have been exhibited alongside original manuscripts in major exhibitions in some of the world’s leading libraries such as the Vatican, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and the National Library of Japan.

The three fragments, P46, P52 and P66 as shown above, individually mounted in acrylic (lucite) and presented suitably wrapped for gifting.

Printed on hand-made papyrus - £2,975.00

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