There are various attempts in the scholarship on early Christian papyri to see an uprising (New Testament) canon, or even one already in place, in the way in which the surviving papyri look like. This rests on the lingering assumption that reading a text in an early Christian worship contexts might equal canonical status for that text.
And more often than not, the discussion is limited to New Testament papyri, perhaps compared with apocryphal papyri. However, there is such thing as liturgical papyri, which are virtually never mentioned in such discussion—and they should be.
Luckily, we have a new book out on this topic, authored by Ágnes T. Mihálykó, The Christian Liturgical Papyri: An Introduction (Mohr 2019):
Here goes the blurb:
Liturgical papyri are prime witnesses to the history of liturgy and the religious and theological currents in late antique Egypt. These items from the third to ninth century preserve hundreds of Greek and Coptic hymns, prayers, and acclamations, most otherwise unknown but some still recited by the Coptic Church. Ágnes T. Mihálykó offers the first extensive introduction to the liturgical papyri, facilitating the reader’s access to them with a detailed inventory of edited manuscripts and an extensive discussion of their date and provenance. She also examines liturgical papyri as the first preserved liturgical manuscripts, describing their material features, the ways they were used, the early history of the liturgical books, and their languages. She reveals how liturgical texts were written down and transmitted and locates these important manuscripts in the book culture of late antique Egypt.
You can find the academia.edu page of the author here.
Leave a Reply