The Egerton Papyrus

One of the more interesting discoveries I made while researching the Lost Scrolls has to do with the Egerton Papyrus, an ancient manuscript Dr. Jonathan Munro is studying when he is called away into the adventure. I’d never heard of Egerton before, but I wanted to find something that would highlight Jon’s role as a paleographer and give a hint as to the greater treasure that awaited him in finding the autographs of the New Testament. Egerton fit the bill perfectly.

The Egerton Papyrus was discovered in Egypt and bought by the British Museum in 1934. It is dated to the early part of the 2nd century, making its composition fall somewhere between A.D. 50 and 100.

The content of Egerton includes four stories. First, there is a controversy very similar to that found in John 5:39-47 and 10:31-39. Then there is the story of a leper being cured, like the stories told in Matt 8:1-4, Mark 1:40-45, Luke 5:12-16 and Luke 17:11-14. Next comes a controversy about paying taxes, analogous to Matt 22:15-22, Mark 12:13-17, Luke 20:20-26. Finally, and most interesting, is the account of an unknown miracle of Jesus.

The page telling this miracle is badly damaged. Numerous attempts have been made to reconstruct the text, and from what remains the following story is told:

Jesus asks a question:

“When a husbandman has enclosed a small seed in a secret place, so that it is invisibly buried, how does its abundance become immeasurable?” And when they where perplexed at the strange question, Jesus, as he walked, stood still upon the verge of the River Jordan, and stretching out his right hand, he filled it with water and sprinkled it upon the shore. And thereupon the sprinkled water made the ground moist, and it was watered before them and brought forth fruit.

This seems to be a clear reference to the Day of Pentecost, when God’s Spirit was poured out like water upon the seed of the disciples’ faith, and they bore fruit immediately that day.

It’s only a tragedy that more of Egerton did not survive the intervening two thousand years of history between then and now.

Here are some of the images of Egerton:

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