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The Gospel of Saint John (P66), 2nd - 3rd century
Papyrus, Greek manuscript, 17 x 15 cm
PBodmer II

This papyrus, which contains the Gospel of Saint John, provides remarkable evidence of the origins of the modern book: as early as the first century A.D., the codex gave the new Christian community the same advantage as secretaries, lawyers and students - it was easy to consult, store and transport, and new pages could be added. Until the 19th century, the oldest known manuscript was the fourth-century Codex Vaticanus; the first fragment dating from the third century was published in 1899 as part of the Oxyrhynchus papyri. The Bodmer manuscript, which dates from the end of the second century or the very beginning of the third century, is thus one of the oldest substantial copy.

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