Cairo University Library

Greek Bible fragment from the first century B.C. These delicate papyrus leaves show several verses from Deuteronomy 31:28–30 and 32:1–7. Metzger describes the work of the ancient scribe: “The letters, which seem to have been written with care, are upright, rounded uncials [modified capital letters] with ornamental serifs [small lines at the tops and bottoms of the letters] … Wherever the name of God appears in the text, the original scribe carefully reserved sufficient space for the addition [in Hebrew script that was archaic even then] of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton [the four letters Yod, He, Vav, He, commonly transcribed Yahweh].” One Tetragrammaton, written right to left in so-called Palaeo-Hebrew script, can be seen within the sixth line of Greek in the first column on the left.

Acquired in 1943 by the Egyptian Papyrological Society, these three fragments, along with 110 others, were originally part of a papyrus roll (or rolls) estimated to have been about 47 feet long, with 88 columns of writing.