Sunday, January 14, 2018

Mysterious Hebrew fragment from Oxyrhynchus

BRITISH LIBRARY ASIAN AND AFRICAN STUDIES BLOG: A papyrus puzzle: an unidentified fragment from 4th century Oxyrhynchus (Zsofi Buda and Miriam Lewis).
The Hebrew Manuscripts Digitisation Project team has just started working on five papyrus fragments, which are some of the earliest Hebrew texts we have at the British Library. The fragments are a fascinating mystery, one that we hope you can help us solve.

It turns out there are a number of early Hebrew fragments from Oxyrhynchus:
We are not able to precisely date these fragments, but the current consensus is that they are from the fourth century CE. Three of them (A, B and E) are poems, all written in Hebrew language and script. Fragment D is a Greek contract, with Hebrew text in the margins, which is probably also of a legal nature. Fragment C is written in Hebrew characters however the language – except the last three lines –is yet unidentified. This is where our mystery lies – and perhaps it is about to be uncovered by one of you.
Have a look at Fragment C and see if you can decipher it!


UPDATE (20 January): For a possible (Aramaic) decipherment of the mystery fragment, see here.

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