The Bodmer “Composite” Codex: A Diagram

The so-called Bodmer “Composite” or “Miscellaneous” codex (LDAB 2565), is a fascinating, but somewhat confusing artifact. The leaves of this papyrus codex are roughly square at about 14.2 cm wide by 15.5 cm high (though some are a bit taller). The codex was the work of at least three different copyists. It has three sequences of pagination (that do not match up with the different copyists) and contained an interesting mix of texts: P.Bodmer V: the Genesis of Mary (usually called the Protevangelium of James), P.Bodmer X: the apocryphal correspondence of Paul and the Corinthians (sometimes called 3 Corinthians), P.Bodmer XI: the eleventh Ode of Solomon, P.Bodmer VII: the letter of Jude; P.Bodmer XIII: Melito’s Sermon, P.Bodmer XII, a one-page hymn, and P.Bodmer VIII: 1-2 Peter. It was once thought that the codex also contained P.Bodmer XX: the Apology of Phileas and P.Bodmer IX: Psalms 33-34, but it now seems unlikely that P.Bodmer XX + P.Bodmer IX was ever a part of this codex (I’ll have another post dealing with this issue).

Matters are made more confusing by the piecemeal publication history of the codex. The individual, non-sequential “P.Bodmer” numbers assigned to the different texts in the same codex often cause misunderstanding. It also seems likely that P.Bodmer VIII was a secondary addition to the codex (as I’ve argued in a recent article). And it is still not completely clear to me how P.Bodmer VIII was eventually attached to the rest of the codex. I tend to think the quires of P.Bodmer VIII were attached after P.Bodmer XII, but based on the data known to me, I still can’t be quite sure (they could also have been added before P.Bodmer V).

Visualizing the construction of the codex and identifying the areas of uncertainty can be a challenge, so a while ago I made a diagram of my thinking about the construction of the codex in its final form. I’ve updated it as I learn more about the codex. I’ve decided to post a copy of the diagram here in its still provisional state in the hope that it will save others from having to reinvent the wheel. It now seems to me that the most plausible reconstruction is a codex of 13 quires made up of different numbers of sheets. The diagram is posted under the bibliographical notes below (it will not display well on mobile devices; sorry about that). Questions, comments, and suggestions are welcome.

The best overall introduction to the codex and its problems in English is:
Tommy Wasserman, “Papyrus 72 and the Bodmer Miscellaneous Codex.” New Testament Studies 51 (2005), 137-154

In German, one can consult:

K. Junack and W. Grunewald, Das Neue Testament auf Papyrus I. Die katholischen Briefe (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1986), 16-25
Kurt Aland (†) and Hans-Udo Rosenbaum, Repertorium der Griechischen Christlichen Papyri II: Kirchenväter—Papyri Teil 1 (de Gruyter: Berlin, 1995), 366-382 (The end notes of this piece are especially informative.)

A few of my own recent articles build on these studies:
Brent Nongbri, “Recent Progress in Understanding the Construction of the Bodmer ‘Miscellaneous’ or ‘Composite’ Codex.” Adamantius 21 (2015), 171-172
Brent Nongbri, “The Construction of P.Bodmer VIII and the Bodmer ‘Composite’ or ‘Miscellaneous’ Codex.” Novum Testamentum 58 (2016), 394-410
Brent Nongbri and Stuart G. Hall, “Melito’s Peri pascha 1-5 as Recovered from a ‘Lost’ Leaf of Papyrus Bodmer XIII,” Journal of Theological Studies 68 (2017), 576-592

To download a full-size jpg image of the diagram, click here.

Nongbri Bodmer Composite Codex Diagram

Nongbri Bodmer Composite Codex Diagram March 2018

This entry was posted in Bodmer composite codex, Bodmer Papyri, Book binding, Codices. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Bodmer “Composite” Codex: A Diagram

  1. Pingback: P.Bodmer XX+IX and the Bodmer Composite Codex | Variant Readings

  2. Tommy Wasserman says:

    Thanks Brent!

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