Papyrus Egerton 2:
Fragments from a Gospel Codex

    PEg 2 is a group of five fragments from one the oldest known sayings collections of Jesus which are not from one of the canonical gospels. Four fragments are in the British Museum (frags. 1-4), and one is in Köln, Germany (frag. 5). Fragment 4 is only a scrap with one letter.
    This photo is of the recto (front side) of fragment 2.

Language: Greek
Medium: papyrus
Sizes: Frag. 1 = 11.5 x 9.2 cm
Frag. 2 = 11.8 x 9.7 cm.
Frag. 3 = 6 x 2.3 cm.
Frag. 4 = scrap
Frag. 5 = 5.5 x 3 cm.
Approximate Date: c. 200 CE
Place of Discovery: Egypt
Acquisition Date: 1934 (frags. 1-4)
Source of Acquisition: antiquities dealer
Current Locations: Frags. 1-4:
British Museum
London, England
Frag. 5 (P. Köln 255):
Köln, Germany
Inventory Numbers: P. Lond. Christ. 1
P. Köln inv. 608, nr. 255

(Readable as Greek if
"SYMBOL" font is installed)
toi nomiko
ntatonp [.] a aprass
monkaimheme[......] ai
opoieipwspoi [......] proV
a [..] contastoulaou [..] pa
pentonlogontouto [.......] erau
asgrafaV enaisu meisdo
zwhnecein ekeinaiei [.......] in
urousaiperiemou mhd [.......]
tiegwhlqonkathgo [.......] hsai
prostonpramou estin
opwnu mwnmw eison
hlpikate a [...] twndele
ne [.......] oidamenotimwel
oqV [...] sedeoukoidamen

. . . to the lawyers: ". . . everyone who acts contrary to the law, but not me . . . what he does, as he does it." And having turned to the rulers of the people he spoke the following saying, "Search the scriptures in which you think that you have life; these are the ones which bear witness to me. Do not think that I came to accuse you to my father. There is one that accuses you, even Moses, on whom you have set your hope." And when they said, "We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for you, we do not know where you come from." Jesus answered and said to them, "Now accusation is raised against your unbelief with respect to those to whom he bore witness. Because if you had believed Moses, you would believe me since it is about me that he wrote to your fathers."
[........]w [.......]
[santeV taV] liqouV omou li[qasw]
si[........]ton kai epebalon [.....]
cei[raV] autwn ep auton oi [arcon-]
teV [in]a piaswsin kai par[........]
[............] tw oclw kai ouk e[dunanto]
auton piasai oti oupw e[lhluqei]
[...]wn apeneusen ap a[utwn]
kai [i]dou leproV proselq[wn autw]
legei didaskale Ih(sou) le[proiV sun-]
odeuwn kai sunesqiw[n autoiV]
en tw pandoceiw el[................]
kai autoV egw ean [o]un [su qelhV]
kaqarizomai o dh k(urio)V [efh autw]
qel[w] kaqarisqhti [kai euqewV]
[a]pesth ap autou h lep[ra legei]
de autw o Ih(souV) [?] pore[uqeiV seau-]
ton epideixon toi[V iereusin]
kai anenegkon [peri tou ka-]
[q]arismou wV pro[s]e[taxen Mw(ushV) kai]
[m]hketi a[ma]rtane...

. . . to gather stones together [to stone] him. And the rulers laid their hands on him to [deliver] him to the crowd. But they were not able to arrest him since the hour of his being handed over had not yet come. But the Lord himself escaped from their hands and turned away from them.
And behold, a leper coming to him, says: "Teacher Jesus, while traveling with lepers and eating together with them in the inn, I myself also became a leper. If therefore you will, I will be clean."
And the Lord said to him: "I will, be clean."
And immediately the leprosy left him. And Jesus said to him: "Go show yourself to the priests and offer concerning the purification as Moses commanded and sin no more [...]"


    1. What questions do these fragments raise concerning the relationship of the canonical gospels?

    2. Which canonical gospels have been suggested as having the closest affinities with these fragments? What is the evidence for each?
    3. What is the evidence for the dating of Papyrus Egerton 2?
    4. By what means do scholars date manuscripts and fragments of manuscripts?
    5. What factors account for so many biblical papyri having been discovered in Egypt?


    Aland, Kurt. "The Significance of the Papyri for Progress in New Testament Research." In The Bible in Modern Scholarship: Papers Read at the 100th Meeting of the SBL, December 28-30, 1964. Edited by J. P. Hyatt, 325-46. Nashville: Abingdon, 1965.

    Crossan, John Dominic. Four Other Gospels: Shadows on the Contours of Canon. Minneapolis: Winston, 1985.
    Daniels, Jon B. The Egerton Gospel: Its Place in Early Christianity. Ph.D. dissertation, Claremont Graduate School, 1989.
    Bell, H. Idriss, and T. C. Skeat. Fragments of an Unknown Gospel and Other Early Papyri. London: British Museum, 1935.
    Gamble, Harry Y. "Egerton Papyrus 2." In Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by D. N. Freedman, 2.317-18. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
    Groenewald, Michael. "Unbekanntes Evangelium oder Evangelienharmonie (Fragment aus dem Evangelium Egerton." In Kölner Papyri (P Köln). Vol. 6.136-45. Cologne, 1987.
    Koester, Helmut. Ancient Christian Gospels: Their History and Development. Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1990.
    Metzger, Bruce M. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1968.
    Nierynck, Frans. "Papyrus Egerton 2 and the Healing of the Leper." Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanensis 61 (1985) 153-60.
    Roberts, Colin H. Greek Literary Hands 350 B.C.—A.D. 400. Oxford: Clarendon, 1956.
    Salmon, Victor. The Fourth Gospel: A History of the Textual Tradition of the Original Greek Gospel. Translated by M. J. O'Connell. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical, 1976 [French ed. 1969].
    Willker, Wieland. Papyrus Egerton 2 Homepage. University of Bremen, Germany.

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Last Modified: 7 June 2004