CSNTM Makes Old Things New

I’ll be frank: the brand-spanking-new, high-resolution images of P45 on the CSNTM site are pretty cool. Frederic Kenyon’s 1933-34 images and text of P45 have been an enduring contribution to the field of NT textual criticism,[1] but it appears that the images provided by CSNTM are one clearer: in fact, these images go to eleven. They’re hi-res, zoom-able, and easily manipulated for students of NT textual criticism working in the digital age. They invite renewed study of our earliest Christian artifacts (Hurtado, 2006)—renewed study which may, in fact, help us see things we hadn’t noticed before.

In my limited dabblings on the CSNTM site, I’ve noticed something new in P45 that was not published in Kenyon’s editio princeps. In Mark 6:22 in P45, Kenyon notes a superscript addition of ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ above Ο ΗΡΩΔΗΣ. This addition is clear, even in the older images in Kenyon’s Fasciculus I. But with the clarity afforded us by these new images, I think there may be one small detail missing from Kenyon’s reading. When one adjusts the image to its highest magnification, the definite article (O) appears to be visible to the left of ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ. The definite article is not fully preserved and is partially worn off. But the ink matches the surrounding text and what otherwise might be considered a smudge under lower resolutions sure looks like an omicron upon further inspection. Here’s an image at moderate magnification which shows the superscription and (my suggested) definite article, with arrows comparing it to the already-established definite article accompanying Herod: Image

Here is another image, at highest magnification:

Image

O B[…]
O H[…]

Now, the question: Do you see what I see? I welcome your responses in the comments.

If you’re interested in learning more about the new images from CSNTM, take a few minutes to watch this video and explore their site:

(Post-script disclaimer: I am but a lowly grad student with entirely limited interaction with NT textual criticism. The presence of the definite article in P45’s text of Mark 6:22 may have been noticed a long time ago by scholars much smarter than me. If so, I’ll gladly accept being the second [or third, or five-thousandth] person to notice it.)

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[1] Frederic G. Kenyon, The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri: Descriptions and Texts of Twelve Manuscripts on Papyrus of the Greek Bible: Fasciculus II: The Gospels and Acts: Text (London: Emery Walker, 1933); Frederic G. Kenyon, The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri: Descriptions and Texts of Twelve Manuscripts on Papyrus of the Greek Bible: Fasciculus II: The Gospels and Acts: Plates (London: Emery Walker, 1934).