Hunting for Origen in unidentified papyri: The case of P.Egerton 2 (= inv. 3)

Rachel Yuen-Collingridge*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEarly Christian Manuscripts: Examples of Applied Method and Approach
EditorsThomas J. Kraus, Tobias Nicklas
Place of PublicationLeiden; Boston
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9789004182653
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Publication series

NameTexts and Editions for New Testament Study
ISSN (Print)15747085


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