Fayyum Gospel Fragment


A small fragment of papyrus containing six incomplete lines written in a block hand on the recto of a roll, the verso being blank. It is misnamed in that it was discovered not in the Fayyum but slightly to the south, on the site of the ancient Herakleopolis, in the course of excavations carried out in 1882. It is preserved in the Rainer Collection at Vienna. It is unusual in being part of a roll rather than, like the great majority of early Christian papyri, part of a codex. It can be securely dated to the third century.

In it is described, as in and, the departure of and his to the immediately before the Passion, with Jesus’ prophecy from and his prediction of Peter’s denial. The account is closer to Mark’s than it is to Matthew’s, but is much more summary even than Mark’s. The author certainly drew on Mark’s narrative, but his vocabulary suggests that he also used some other source; for example, he uses the word “to crow,” not found anywhere in the New Testament. This also renders it unlikely that what we have is part of a treatise in which the writer abbreviated the narrative of rather than a separate gospel.

  • Bickell, G., ed. “Das nichtkanonische Evangelienfragment.” für katholische Theologie 9 (1885):498-500, and 10 (1886):208-209.
  • Hennecke, E., and W. Schneemelcher. New Testament Apocrypha, trans. R. McL. Wilson; Vol. 1, pp. 115-16. London, 1963.