The first fragment contains parts of Matthew 26:7–8 on one side (verso) and parts of Matthew 26:31 on the other (recto). The second fragment contains parts of 26:10 and 26:32–33. Fragment 3 contains parts of 26:14–15 and 26:22–23.



Carsten Thiede’s publications on 7Q5 are conveniently listed in the select bibliography to his book, The Earliest Gospel Manuscript? The Qumran Fragment 7Q5 and Its Significance for New Testament Studies (Exeter: Paternoster, 1992), p. 79.


Bernhard Mayer, ed., Christen und Christliches in Qumran? Eichstätter Studien, new ser., vol. 32 (Regensburg, Germany: Pustet, 1992).


“Papyrus Magdalen Greek 17 (Gregory-Aland p64): A Reappraisal,” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik (ZPE) 105 (1995), pp. 13–20. This article has been reprinted with minor corrections in Tyndale Bulletin 46 (1995), pp. 29–42.


Richerche sulla maiuscola biblica, 2 vols., Studi e testi di papirologia 2 (Florence: Le Monnier, 1967).


G. Cavallo and H. Maehler, Greek Bookhands of the Early Byzantine Period, A.D. 300–800 (London: Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, 1987).


In the Church Times (6 January 1995), Professor Neville Birdsall wrote: “On the publication of The Times’s report on 24 December, I compared the facsimiles of the Magdalen and Barcelona parts of this manuscript with the materials in my library, especially the study of the Italian expert Professor G. Cavallo devoted to the evolution of that style (1967). There can be no doubt of the congruence of the style of the papyrus with many examples quoted by Cavallo.” Dr. S.R. Pickering (Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia) and Dr. David Parker (University of Birmingham, England) have both kindly sent me drafts of articles they are preparing on p. 64; independently, they make similar points. See also Dr. Klaus Wachtel.


In their list of the characteristics of the biblical majuscule script, G. Cavallo and H. Maehler draw attention to both the formation and the shape of letters. They note that in the phase of greatest formal perfection of biblical majuscule: (1) there is a preference for geometric forms; most letters can be fitted into squares; (2) there is a contrast in thickness between compact vertical strokes, thin horizontal and ascending strokes, and descending diagonals of medium thickness; (3) there is an absence of decorative crowning dashes or ornamental hooks; and (4) as for the shapes of the letters, as a general rule they repeat forms and basic structures of the alphabet of classical Greece; the forms of rho and upsilon are characteristic; both have long verticals that descend below the baseline. See Cavallo and Maehler, Greek Bookhands, p. 34; see also Cavallo, Richerche sulla maiuscola biblica, vol. 1, pp. 4–12.


I owe this point to Dr. David Parker, University of Birmingham.


After I had completed this article, Dr. Klaus Wachtel of the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung, in Munster, Germany, kindly sent me proofs of his outstanding forthcoming article, to be published in ZPE, “p. 64–67: Fragmente des Matthäusevangeliums aus dem 1. Jahrhundert?” Wachtel provides a very detailed critical appraisal of Thiede’s theory and reaches broadly similar conclusions to those set out above.


In 1953 C.H. Roberts suggested a date “later in the second century.” On the basis of a comparison with five papyri, he concluded that the Magdalen papyrus is an early example of the well-attested biblical majuscule style (“An Early Papyrus of the First Gospel,” Harvard Theological Review 46 [1953], pp. 233–237). In 1962 Roberts recognized that two Barcelona fragments of parts of Matthew (3:9, 15 and 5:20–2, 25–8) came from the same codex, a view that has won universal agreement (C.H. Roberts, in a note appended to P. Roca-Puig, Un papiro griego del Evangelio de San Mateo, 2nd ed. [Barcelona, 1962]); I owe this reference to Dr. S.R. Pickering of Macquarie University.


Maurice Baillet, Jozef T. Milik and Roland de Vaux, eds., Les ‘petites grottes’ de Qumran, Discoveries in the Judaean Desert 3 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962).


It is documented fully by Thiede in Earliest Gospel Manuscript?


In Earliest Gospel Manuscript? (pp. 42–44), Thiede appeals to a fragment of Menander and a fragment of Virgil as comparable examples. While his point is well made, it is worth noting that both examples contain more certain letters than 7Q5.


For fuller information on this point, see S.R. Pickering and R.R.E. Cook, Has a Fragment of Mark been Found at Qumran? (Sydney, Australia: The Ancient History Documentary Research Centre, Macquarie University, 1989), pp. 12–13.


Pickering and Cook, Fragment of Mark, p. 6.


As Thiede readily concedes, O’Callaghan himself was more cautious; he admitted that this nu was “the most difficult point in the papyrus” (Earliest Gospel Manuscript? pp. 34–35).


This was the verdict of the original editor, Maurice Baillet, in Biblica 53 (1972), pp. 510–511. Similarly, see S.R. Pickering and R.R.E. Cook Fragment of Mark, pp. 11–12.


Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Dead Sea Scrolls: Major Publications and Tools for Study (Atlanta: Scholars Press 1990), p. 168.


Thiede, Earliest Gospel Manuscript? p.55.