My list of papyri discoveries is a little dated. Has any new papyrus been found from the 1st. cent. that one of the immediate disciples of Jesus wrote? It would be in Aramaic, I expect. There was a mention of a Gospel by Matthew, made by one of the Church Fathers that was in Aramaic. but it has not been found.

  • No. Please consider reading any of the books by Bart D. Ehrman. I'm pretty sure he mentions this fact in all of them. There usually is one chapter in his books that's the same (or close to the same) as all of his books - where he mentions these facts. Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 20:15
  • ... wait... what do you consider Paul? The oldest Christian writings were "by" Paul. Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 20:18
  • AS far as I can tell from what I have read, the ten letters from Pauline theology arrived at the Church in Rome c 140, and were a novelty to the Fathers. They were re-written to include reference to Judaism, and released to the public in the form we now have them. The oldest Christian writings, not Gospels are probably the Didache, or the teaching of the Twelve Apostles, written perhaps as early as AD 70, though not all agree with such an early date.
    – Waeshael
    Commented Jun 30, 2013 at 19:32
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    One other point to mention. The disciples probably didn't know how to read or write - they were fishermen. Reading and writing were skills that were not common as in more recent years. Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


Nope. The earliest manuscript fragment we have is p52. It dates to about 20 years after John wrote it.

And, while it is likely that the apostles spoke Aramaic, there is nothing to conclusively prove they wrote in it.

In any event, the apostles wouldn't have written it in their own hands. Most writing was done by an amanuensis - a guy who made the paper and ink, and wrote down what he said.

The one exception to the amanuensis is most likely when Paul writes "See what large letters I write in my own hand".

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    I am somewhat familiar with P52. It is in my list. It may be from the early 2nd cent. It does not use nomina sacra as does the 4th. cent Sinaitus, and Vaticanus, and most writings of the Gospels after they were considered to be scripture, so a 2nd cent provenance does seem likely, since the gospels at that time were referred to by an early father as memoirs of the apostles (Justin Matyr ca. 155. FA, or DWT ca. 160)
    – Waeshael
    Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 6:28

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