The most famous text in the Papyrology Collection are the thirty leaves from the oldest known codex of the Pauline Epistles. This manuscript is known in New Testament scholarship as P46.
The handwriting shows that this text was written around 200 C.E. by a professional scribe. This puts the manuscript about 150 years after Paul composed them.
The manuscript is important for giving scholars insight into the textual transmission of the Pauline Epistles. It is one of the few manuscripts that exist that puts the Epistle to the Hebrews (not considered by current scholars to have been written by Paul) second in the collection, directly after the Epistle to the Romans. The manuscript also provides us with individual readings in the Greek text that do not exist in other manuscripts, which has led some scholars to assume that this text was the product of a group of active readers who engaged with the text and added clarification where possible.
The University of Michigan purchased six leaves in 1930 and a further 24 in 1932-33. Meanwhile Alfred Chester Beatty, purchased 10 leaves for his own collection in 1930, and 46 more in 1935. These 56 leaves now form part of the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Ireland.