“Bodmer Papyri” at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin

Beatty NPG 1942

Sir Alfred Chester Beatty; image source: National Portrait Gallery

I’ve mentioned before that the term “Bodmer Papyri” can be a little misleading, both because the ancient collection that scholars call the “Bodmer Papyri” includes some items that are not kept at the Fondation Martin Bodmer in Geneva and because many of the items that are at the Fondation in Geneva do not come from this find. Several other institutions hold pieces that are believed to come from this same ancient collection. The most important of these locations is the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. Although Chester Beatty is more well known to scholars of early Christianity for his acquisition of the “Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri” in the early 1930s, Beatty continued to buy manuscripts from Egypt into the 1950s, and some of the items he purchased in the mid-1950s belong to the same ancient collection as the “Bodmer Papyri.” The Chester Beatty Library has recently (quietly) put online a large selection of images of manuscripts from their collection, including some of these “Bodmer” pieces. The Beatty holdings of “Bodmer Papyri” include the following:

A portion of a leaf of P.Bodmer 2, the papyrus codex containing the Gospel According to John in Greek (Beatty Ac. 2555, LDAB 2777):

Beatty PBodmer 2 Fragment

Fragment of a leaf of P.Bodmer 2 (Chester Beatty Ac. 2555; image source: Chester Beatty Digital Collections)

Portions of a leaf of from the codex containing P.Bodmer 20 + P.Bodmer 9, a papyrus book containing the Apology of Phileas and Psalms 33 and 34 (this particular fragment comes from a leaf containing part of P.Bodmer 20, the Apology of Phileas, Beatty Ac. 2555, LDAB 220465):

Beatty PBodmer 20 fragment

Fragment of a leaf of P.Bodmer 20 (Chester Beatty Ac. 2555; image source: Chester Beatty Digital Collections)

A substantial portion of the codex known as P.Bodmer 21, a papyrus book containing the book of Joshua (and parts of other works) in Coptic. The Beatty holdings include the leather cover of the book and also a very nicely preserved bifolium with binding threads and stays in place (Beatty Ac. 1389, LDAB 108537):

Beatty PB 21 Cover and Bifolium

The cover and a bifolium from the codex known as P.Bodmer 21 (Chester Beatty Ac. 1389; image source: Chester Beatty Digital Collections)

Other pieces in the Beatty Library are not held at all in the Fondation Martin Bodmer in Geneva but are nonetheless widely believed to have been a part of the same ancient collection of “Bodmer Papyri.” These pieces include (at least):

A papyrus codex containing part of the Gospel According to John in Coptic and mathematical exercises in Greek (Beatty Ac. 1390, LDAB 2763):

Beatty Coptic John and Math Codex

Bifolium from a papyrus codex containing the Gospel According to John in Coptic and Greek mathematical exercises (Beatty Ac. 1389; image source: Chester Beatty Digital Collections)

A mostly blank codex whose inscribed pages include a Greek and Latin lexicon of Paul’s letters with a series of Greek conjugations. The Beatty Library also has the leather cover for this codex  (Ac. 1499, LDAB 3030):

Beatty Ac 1499 Cover and Bifolium

The cover and a bifolium of a papyrus codex containing blank leaves and a Greek-Latin lexicon of Paul’s letters (Beatty Ac. 1499; image source: Chester Beatty Digital Collections)

A number of other manuscripts in the Beatty collection are sometimes claimed as a part of the ancient “Bodmer Papyri” collection, but I have serious doubts about these arguments. For a full discussion, see my chapter on the Bodmer Papyri in God’s Library.

 

This entry was posted in Bodmer Papyri, Chester Beatty Papyri, P.Bodmer II. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to “Bodmer Papyri” at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin

  1. Pingback: The Bodmer Papyri: An Inventory of “P.Bodmer” Items | Variant Readings

  2. Pingback: Kenyon’s Editions of the Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri Online | Variant Readings

  3. Henry B Smith Jr. says:

    Dear Dr. Nongbri,
    Thank you very much for availing us of these important resources. I was wondering, during the course of your investigations, if you have dealt with the Berlin Genesis Fragment, Papyrus 911. During my own investigation, I discovered that much of it was photographed and placed online by the University of Warsaw. I was looking for the section of Genesis 11 where “Kainan” appears. However, this portion of 911 was destroyed in Berlin in WWII. Henry Sanders published a facsimile in 1927, where the entire manuscript can be seen in PDF at archive.org [Henry A. Sanders, Facsimile of the Washington Manuscript of the Minor Prophets in the Freer Collection and the Berlin Fragment of Genesis (Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan, 1927)]. I wanted to see higher quality pictures, so I contacted the University of Michigan to see if they had original photos or negatives in their archive. They said they did not. So, this was as far as I was able to take the matter. Given your experience in investigating the background of papyri, etc., I was wondering if you had any knowledge beyond what I described above, or if you had suggestions for pursuing the matter further.
    Thank you for your time and consideration.
    Henry B. Smith Jr.
    Associates for Biblical Research

    • Yes, as far as I know the digital images at Warsaw are the best ones available. For images not available there, the Sanders facsimile volume is the only readily available resource. It is possible that there might be glass plate negatives at the Smithsonian. I know for sure that they have glass plate negatives of some of the Freer manuscripts, and it’s possible that is where the negatives of the Berlin codex might be kept. Just a guess.

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