Orsini’s Recent Dating of P66 & P75
Pasquale Orsini is a respected papyrologist and palaeographer who has recently offered dates for the various papyri in the Bodmer collection: Pasquale Orsini, “I papiri Bodmer: scritture e libri,” Adamantius 21 (2015): 60-78. In a table (p. 77), he dates both P66 (P.Bodmer II) and P75 (P.Bodmer XIV-XV) 3rd/4th century CE (which would roughly = 250-325 CE).
It is interesting that this moves the dates of both papyri somewhat later than in the earlier article co-written with Willy Clarysse: “Early New Testament Manuscripts and Their Dates: A Critique of Theological Palaeography,” Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 88(2012): 443-74. In this earlier article, they dated both P66 and P75 “200-250” (Table 1, pp. 469-72). It’s not very clear to me what may have moved Orsini to adjust his proposed dating of these two NT papyri. It would be good to have some illumination on the matter.
In his now-classic work, The Typology of the Early Codex (University of Pennsylvania, 1977; reprint, Wipf & Stock, 2010), Eric Turner judged that P66 should be dated ca. 200-250 CE and P75 ca. 225-275 CE. His dates were several decades later than the dates proposed by the original editors (in both cases, 200 CE +/- 25).
As noted in my earlier posting, Brent Nongbri has even proposed that both NT papyri could (perhaps should) be dated into the 4th century.
Of course, dating papyri on the basis of palaeography and page-format is always a matter of juggling a number of features, and so competent experts can often differ by as much as a century or sometimes even more. Also, it’s understandably safer (or at least more cautious) to suggest a date toward the later end of a possible spectrum. But I wonder what further thoughts might have moved Orsini to shift his dates for P66 and P75 in the few years between the earlier article and the more recent one.
(See Brent Nongbri’s posting on the volume in which Orsini’s article appears, and the conference from which it came here.)