Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1

Sidebar to: The Oxyrhynchus Papyri

During their first season at Oxyrhynchus, Grenfell and Hunt made some astonishing discoveries, but none more remarkable than Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 1.

POxy 1 is a single papyrus leaf from a book, or codex, the rest of which is lost. On one side are sayings 26–28 of the Gospel of Thomas, on the reverse side sayings 29–33, with Thomas 77:2–3 appearing as part of saying 30. When Grenfell and Hunt first discovered the leaf, they did not know that its contents were in fact part of the Gospel of Thomas. This would only be discovered half a century later, when a complete copy of the Gospel of Thomas was found at another famous Egyptian site, Nag Hammadi. With the complete text in hand, scholars could finally see that POxy 1, POxy 654 and POxy 655 were all fragments of the same gospel: the Gospel of Thomas. When Grenfell and Hunt first published POxy 1 in 1897, they called it simply Logia Iesu (“Sayings of Jesus”).

Today it is housed in Oxford’s Bodleian Library.

The Text of POxy 1

SIDE 1

“[...] and then you will see clearly to cast the splinter from your brother’s eye.”

Jesus says, “If you do not fast to the world, you will not find the Empire of God. And if you do not observe the Sabbath as a Sabbath, you will not see the Father.”

Jesus says, “I stood in the midst of the world and in flesh I appeared to them, and I found all of them drunk; and none of them did I find thirsty. And my soul suffers for the children of humanity, for they are blind of heart and do [not] see [that ...]”

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