This volume is the first complete analysis of the apocryphal gospel fragment P.Oxy. 840 since its initial discovery nearly a century ago. The fragment recounts a dispute over ritual purity between Jesus and a Pharisaic chief priest in the temple. After an examination of prior research, this work explores the various palaeographical and historical questions raised by this apocryphal story and also offers a new Greek edition and English translation. In particular, P.Oxy. 840’s controversial descriptions of ritual purity practices in Herod’s temple are evaluated in light of what is known of first-century Judaism. After comparing the text with similar passages in the canonical gospels, the origins of this non-canonical story are traced to second-century Jewish-Christian groups that shared its theological and polemical thrust.
In five chapters the author successively offers a most detailed codicological and papyrological analysis, presents a new edition with translation, discusses the historical problems raised by the text, and addresses the double question of its relation to the canonical Gospels and its place within early Christianity.