1,700-Year-Old Christian Letter Uncovered – Oldest Outside of the Bible

    Updated: July 15, 2019 at 3:36 pm EST  See Comments

    Originally Published on This Site

    1,700-Year-Old Christian Letter Uncovered – Oldest Outside of the Bible

    A 1,700-year-old letter written by one Christian to another has been unveiled by researchers from the University of Basil, which is calling it the oldest Christian letter outside of copies of the New Testament.

    The letter from a man named Arrianus to someone named Paulus says Arrianus is “praying” for his brother. Arrianus discusses everyday matters, including local politics (“city council” business) and food (“fish liver sauce”). 

    The letter, known as papyrus P.Bas. 2.43, originated in Egypt, according to a news release from the University of Basil. It was dated to the 230s AD. 

    It ends with the unique closing, “I pray that you fare well in the Lord.” 

    “The use of this abbreviation – known as a nomen sacrum in this context – leaves no doubt about the Christian beliefs of the letter writer,” said Sabine Huebner, professor of ancient history at the University of Basel. “It is an exclusively Christian formula that we are familiar with from New Testament manuscripts.” 

    The name “Paulus” also is significant, Huebner said. 

    “Paulus was an extremely rare name at that time and we may deduce that the parents mentioned in the letter were Christians and had named their son after the apostle as early as 200 AD,” Huebner said.

    The letter is part of Huebner’s new monograph, Papyri and the Social World of the New Testament.

    The University of Basil’s news release notes that the “earliest Christians in

    The remainder of this article is available in its entirety at Christian Headline

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