Rylands Papyrus Fragment P52 (457).

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THIS SCRAP, measuring about 3.5 by 2.5 inches, was among some papyri acquired in 1920 by Dr B P Grenfell for the John Rylands Library at Manchester, but remained unnoticed until Mr C H Roberts identified it as the oldest existing manuscript of any part of the New Testament. It contains John xviii.31-33, John xviii.37-38 in a hand which can be confidently assigned to the first half of the second century. In the middle fifty years of the nineteenth century, if this scrap could have been produced & its date established, it would have created a sensation; for it would have convincingly refuted those who contended that the Fourth Gospel was not written until the second century was far advanced. Now we see that it was not only written, but had spread to a provincial town in Egypt, by the middle of the second century, which goes far towards confirming the traditional date of composition, in the last years of the first century. Published by Mr Roberts in 1935.

For the text of P52, in context of the events described on it, go HERE.

Description from 'Our Bible & the Ancient Manuscripts' by Sir Frederick Kenyon (1895 - 4th Ed. 1939) Page 128.

The papyrus is a fragment of the page of a book, written on both sides.