A Notebook of Psalms

P. Mich Inv. 4286 (recto)

This small notebook contains part of Psalms 1:10–11 written in Coptic in a crude hand and is not dated. It consists of four papyrus leaves measuring roughly 11 cm high by 8.5 cm wide. It is stabbed with pairs of holes through the side along the spine edge and sewn with what appears to be a continuous thread that wraps between the two holes and then travels along the side or spine edge of the notebook and thus continues to the next pair of sewing holes. The APIS note mentions a length of thread or cord drawn up between the leaves, but the fragment is far too fragile now to open to see if such a length of thread is in place. The notebook is very damaged with losses on all edges, including the upper third of the spine edge along with the sewing thread from that area. The first leaf is broken off along the line of sewing, but it is clear that it is a clean fit when laid back in place. The writing ink is alternately dark on some pages such as the top page and faded on other pages of the notebook, including the verso of the last leaf. This fading is not surprising; the exposure to damp and friction may have dissolved or abraded the lettering away.

 

P. Mich. Inv. 4286

P. Mich. Inv. 4286 (recto)

P. Mich. Inv. 4286 (verso)

In brief, this is an example of a notebook probably made by a user, rather than a stationer who produced blank books, and in fact the APIS record mentions the possibility that the crude hand indicates that it was written for private use. The line of sewing encroaches on the writing field, which is another indication of amateur work; the text was doubtless written and then the sheets were attached together.

P. Mich. Inv. 4286

P. Mich. Inv. 4286 (verso)

Cartonnage from a Book Board

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