ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 47 (2010) 347-349
T.J. Kraus, M.J. Kruger, and T. Nicklas, Gospel Fragments. Oxford Early Christian Gospel Texts 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
xx + 304 pages. ISBN 978-0-19-920815-9.
This volume contains critical editions of a number of ancient "gospel"
fragments. For the purposes of the series a "gospel" is defined broadly as an
account of the life and teaching of Jesus. The fragments in this volume do not
refer to themselves as gospels, nor are they identified as gospels by any known
ancient writer. Rather, the first editors or later commentators thought that they
might have been part of ancient gospels. Nonetheless, as Kraus notes in the
introduction to the book, it is possible "that they actually are from gospels that
survive only in these manuscripts."
Nicklas is responsible for the so-called Egerton Gospel (REgerton 1 =
P.Egerton inv. 2),1 comprising three fragments of three leaves of a codex, a
scrap with a single o on its 4, plus RKoln 255, a small piece that adjoins the
bottom of frag. 1. He begins with an introduction to the fragments, including brief consideration of the hand, codex, nomina sacra, use of the diaeresis,
text division, and orthography. However, there is no discussion of corrections
on both sides of the Koln fragment and the restored text omits details of the
same. Likewise, the fact that the pen sometimes drew two lines instead of one,
apparently because it was too deeply slit, is not mentioned. It is unlikely that
either a professional scribe or the person who commissioned the work would
have found this acceptable, and it is probably indicative of private copying.
Each restored page has an English translation on the facing page and is
followed by notes and commentary. The notes evaluate previous reconstructions and identify possible canonical, apocryphal, and septuagintal parallels,
while dependence is discussed in the commentaries. There the main focus is
the oft-discussed question of dependence on the canonical gospels. Nicklas approaches each side of each leaf as an individual entity. This is overly cautious. If
the author was familiar with the text of John in 14, how is it that he did not also
draw upon it in 2-*? Analysis of the text as a whole would have been better. If
there is dependence on John in one place, then allusions elsewhere are probably
the result of creative redaction. That knowledge should then have informed
1 The actual designation of the manuscript is REgerton 1 (not REgerton 2) = P.Lond.
Christ. 1. On confusion between the publication and accession numbers see S.R. Pickering, "The Egerton Gospel and New Testament Textual Criticism," in C.-B. Amphoux
and J. K. Elliott (eds.), The New Testament Text in Early Christianity (Lausanne 2003)
215-233 (at 215-216).