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The Chrestos/Christos Pun (1 Pet 2:3) in P72 and P125

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image of Novum Testamentum

In both P72 (P.Bodm. VIII) and the recently published P125 (P.Oxy. 4934), the quotation of lxx Ps 33:9 at 1 Pet 2:3 creates a wordplay between Chrestos (good) and Christos. In these two papyri, our oldest witnesses to 1 Peter, the Psalm quote—“taste and see that the Lord is good”—is turned into the confession, “Christ is Lord,” both times written as nomina sacra. This article explores the function of lxx Ps 33:9 in 1 Peter, and analyzes the relevant text of 1 Peter in both P72 and P125. The P72 reading is discussed in the larger context of the Bodmer miscellaneous codex. This variant is very early and becomes widespread, although the texts of the two papyri under discussion are not closely related. The article discusses possible implications for understanding early Christian resistance to Roman persecution as well as the early Roman confusion of the names Chrestus and Christus, Chrestiani and Christiani.

Affiliations: 1: Wamego, Kansas


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