Jones, F. Stanley, & Mirecki, Paul A. "Considerations on the Coptic Papyrus of the Didache (British Library Oriental Manuscript 9271)." in Jefford, Clayton (editor). The Didache in Context: essays on its text, history, and transmission. Leiden: Brill, 1995, 47-87.
Jones and Mirecki observe that the Coptic papyrus of Didache 10.3b-12.2a comes from an earlier date than the Jerusalem manuscript of the Didache and also antedates any Greek manuscript of Apostolic Constitutions. The challenge to schlars is that it contains a number of textual variants compared to these Greek manuscripts (Jones & Mirecki 1995, 47). The papyrus came to light in 1923 and was purchased by the British Museum. It was published in 1924 (Jones & Mirecki 1995, 48) and has since been published in slightly different editions twice (Jones & Mirecki 1995, 49). After close inspection in 1993 and 1994, Jones and Mirecki observed a number of small corrections, which they catalog in this article (Jones & Mirecki 1995, 49-50).
The English translation published in this article by Jones and Mirecki indicates chapter and verse divisions of the Didache. They provide notes which are intended to indicate lacunae and places where words are provided to deal with ellipsis (Jones & Mirecki 1995, 51).
Pages 52-57 provide Coptic and English of the three columns of manuscript, on facing pages. Following these pages is a textual commentary which analyzes the specific readings of Horner (Jones & Mirecki 1995, 1923), Schmidt (1925) and Lefort (1952) in comparison with the inspection and photographic record of Jones (1993-4). The analysis itself begins on page 59. Since I do not read Coptic I am unable to evaluate the comments in detail. However, the comparison of different editions appears to be quite detailed.
Jones and Mirecki continue with a detailed description of the papyrus sheet, its measurements, and the measurements and layout of the writing (Jones & Mirecki 1995, 70ff). The text appears to be written in two different sessions, judging from a difference in the pen and the darkness of the ink (Jones & Mirecki 1995, 72).
The piece of papyrus appears to be a part of a larger roll, possibly a leftover scrap used for practice purposes. This would also explain the apparent carelessness. It may have been used for practice rather than existing as part of a complete copy of a work (Jones & Mirecki 1995, 73). However, some debate has arisen as to whether this page may have been the end of a larger document (Jones & Mirecki 1995, 74ff). Jones and Mirecki suggest that this page may have been a practice sheet for a codex, rather than a roll. This would be more appropriate to the fifth century and could explain the spacing (Jones & Mirecki 1995, 78-79).
Jones and Mirecki briefly discuss the character of the text and its role in determining the text of the Didache. In general, this fragment has not been considered of great use in determining an underlying Greek text (Jones & Mirecki 1995, 84). The scribe appears to be experienced and reasonably careful, though this text is not a polished version (Jones & Mirecki 1995, 85). We do not know how freely the translation was made or whether it includes substantial liturgical commentary (Jones & Mirecki 1995, 86). For all these reasons, Jones and Mirecki consider the matter to remain open for debate and discussion.