In 1998, Timothy M. Teeter published the eleventh installment in the series Columbia Papyri (American Studies in Papyrology 38; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1998). This volume was a revision of Teeter's 1989 doctoral dissertation under Roger S. Bagnall titled Ten Christian Papyri in the Columbia Collection. What I would like to talk about today is one of the manuscripts in this volume, #293 (Col. inv. 571), a fifth-century parchment fragment written in a fine biblical majuscule hand on both the hair and flesh sides, containing portions of Matthew 6 (vv. 4-6, 8-12). The opening paragraph of Teeter's edition of this fragment reads as follows:
"This fragment of the Gospel according to Matthew, containing most of the Lord's prayer and four verses of the introduction, is written on a badly damaged parchment codex leaf. The damage may be due to water, or exposure to extreme heat, or both; whatever the case, it is badly wrinkled, smudged, worn through in spots and very faded. Many letters are lost in whole or in part, while others may be seen only by patient examination under magnification. Text is missing both at top and bottom, and the left edge of the recto is ragged, possibly from the page's having been torn out. The circumstances of its separation from the codex are mysterious; if it was torn out to be kept as a charm or used for recitation, whoever did so was careless and lost the portion of the prayer" (Teeter, Columbia Papyri, p. 3).
Here is an image of the recto of P.Col. XI 293:
According to Teeter, the fragment is part of a larger codex and may have been used secondarily as an amulet. In a footnote to the citation above, Teeter says, "There is no Greek text of the Lord's Prayer on papyrus that was not created to be an amulet or toy" (ibid., p. 3). The "toy" designation is obviously a reference to P.Ant. II 54, whose original editor thought that it may have been a "toy book for a child" (this designation has been problematized by subsequent researchers). In his review of Teeter's book, Paul Mirecki commented that P.Col. XI 293 "is a random fragment of a damaged book, perhaps a deliberately destroyed book. This would better explain why the text of the prayer is incomplete" (BASP 38, 2001, 136). P.Col. XI 293 is no. 105 in de Bruyn and Dijkstra's list of Greek of amulets (BASP 48, 2011, 163-216), filed under the category of "Probable Amulets." They claim that it was used secondarily as an amulet and state in a footnote that, against Mirecki, "[i]t is more plausible that this badly damaged leaf from a parchment codex written with Matt. 6:4-6 (the introduction to the Lord's prayer) and Matt. 6:8-12 (some verses of the Lord's Prayer) was preserved (and possible worn) because it contained the Lord's Prayer than that it is a 'random fragment of a damaged book, perhaps a deliberately destroyed book'" (ibid., 199 n.172). I tend to think that Teeter and de Bruyn and Dijkstra's conclusion, namely, that it was a parchment codex fragment recycled as an amulet, is much more likely than Mirecki's view.
As a general rule within textual criticism, non-continuous manuscripts cannot be catalogued in the official list of New Testament manuscripts, and I have written about the problems with this rule here. My question is this: if P.Col. XI 293 is an amulet only in its second use and originally it presumably belonged to a continuous manuscript of the Greek New Testament, then why has this manuscript not been assigned a Gregory-Aland number in the majuscule category? Viewed this way, it should already be in the Kurzgefasste Liste, since it was likely originally a continuous manuscript, which is a prerequisite for inclusion in the Liste. Interestingly, there is another extant codex leaf used secondarily as an amulet that has made the official list of New Testament manuscripts: it is P.Oxy. LXIV 4406 and has been assigned the Gregory-Aland number P105! De Bruyn and Dijkstra place P.Oxy. 4406 in their category of “probable amulets” alongside P.Col. XI 293 and describe it as a “pap. fragment of a codex sheet [...] sec. use” (ibid., 203).
The question of why P.Oxy. 4406 made the official list of New Testament manuscripts while P.Col. XI 293 did not is a testament to the current uncertainty concerning the role of non-continuous manuscripts within the discipline of New Testament textual criticism. But if we are going to be consistent in our standards and criteria, then P.Col. XI 293 deserves a place among the official list of New Testament manuscripts and I would like publicly to request that the Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung (INTF) consider adding it to the Liste. Whether or not it is to be cited in the apparatus criticus of the NA28 or the ECM is another question altogether, but it should at least be given a Gregory-Aland number. The text is genealogically significant, agreeing "in all major respects with the 27th edition of N(estle)-A(land), as well as the Codex Sinaiticus (א) and the Codex Vatianus (B)" (Teeter, Columbia Papyri, 4-5).
I'm interested to hear what you think so let's take a vote! Please vote below and in a week or two I will post the results and follow up on the discussion. You are also free to leave comments if you are unsure, but please explain why.