Unidentified literary papyri provide an alternative history of ancient literature independent of that transmitted by the mediaeval manuscript tradition. They hold the potential to shed light on the suppressed, the banal or even idiosyncratic expression of literary culture in antiquity. At the textual level, however, this unique potential is eroded by the editorial endeavor to identify and restore. The methodological necessity of the textual parallel, while mitigating wilful Greek prose composition, normalizes the text by using the known to speak for the unknown. The tension generated by the nature of the source material on the one hand and the methodology used to explicate it on the other is here examined with reference to the case of an unidentified theological text ascribed to Origen (P.Egerton 2 = inv. 3). In particular it advocates the conservative dependence on literary analogy for restoration. Yet something of the uniqueness of such a source material may be preserved by resisting the attribution of the text to a known author and instead using metatextual (e.g. format) and intertextual (e.g. citation practice) features to contextualize the text as literary artifact.