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Nash Papyrus, 2nd century BCE

Nash_Papyrus (1)

The Nash Papyrus are a collection of four papyrus fragments acquired in Egypt by W. L. Nash and first described by Stanley A. Cook in 1903. The fragments were the oldest Hebrew fragments known at that time which contained a portion of the biblical Masoretic text, specifically the Ten Commandments and the Shema Yisrael prayer. The order the commandments listed in the Nash papyrus differs from that of the Hebrew Bible and Septuagint.

Though dated by Cook to the 2nd century, subsequent reappraisals have pushed the date back to the 2nd century BC. In addition to biblical text, it also exhibits a few unique readings. The papyrus was probably copied from a liturgical work. According to the Talmud, it was once customary to read the Ten Commandments before reciting the Shema, so this papyrus may have contained the daily worship of a pious Egyptian Jew while the custom still existed.

See also-

F.C. Burkitt, “The Hebrew Papyrus of the Ten Commandments, The Jewish Quarterly Review 15 (1903) 392-408.

Posted in: Maccabean Period

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