The Nash Papyrus is a second-century BCE fragment containing the text of the Ten Commandments followed by the Šemaʿ. Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls it was the oldest known manuscript containing a text from the Hebrew Bible. The manuscript was originally identified as a lectionary used in liturgical contexts, due to the juxtaposition of the Decalogue (probably reflecting a mixed tradition, a composite of Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5) with the Šemaʿ prayer (Deuteronomy 6:4-5), and it has been suggested that it is, in fact, from a phylactery (tefillin, used in daily prayer). Purchased from an Egyptian dealer in antiquities in 1902 by Nash, W. L. (Walter Llewellyn) Dr Walter Llewellyn Nash and presented to the Library in 1903, the fragment was said to have come from the Fayyum. This item was included in the Library’s 600th anniversary exhibition Lines of Thought: Discoveries that changed the world .
Condition: Holes; torn; barely legible. Four separate pieces fixed together.