Thursday, January 10, 2013

Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2949

If one reads Bart Ehrman's book, The Apocryphal Gospels (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 287, one can read an intriguing account of Pilate requesting Herod for permission for Joseph of Aramathea to bury the body of Jesus. There is only one small problem with this, revealed by the Greek of the facing page: Neither Herod nor Joseph is actually mentioned. They are both in lacunae and filled in by the editors.

One can check the original edition, The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, volume XLI (London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1972), 15-16. The editor restores one instance of Herod's name, and quotes the Gospel of Peter 2:3-5, which does have that account, in a footnote. Considering that if Herod's name does appear in P. Oxy. 2949, only the last letter is clearly preserved, it seems a stretch to say that Herod appears in the fragment at all.