Smith, Geoffrey. "The Willoughby Papyrus: A new fragment of John 1:49-2:1 (P134) and an unidentified Christian Text." Journal of Biblical Literature 137:4 (2018), 935-958.
Smith reviews the contents of a brief papyrus sample, the Willoughby Papyrus, which consists of John 1:49-2:1 on the recto and an unidentified text on the verso (Smith 2018, 935). The text, designated as P134 probably belongs to the third or fourth century. It came to light in 2015 when it was briefly available for auction (Smith 2018, 936). Smith was given permission to research its discovery and to draw images of both sides of the fragment. Of particular interest to Smith is the unabbreviated form of the name of God, the fact that it has a non-canonical text on the verso side, and the fact that the verso text is unidentified.
Harold Willoughby collected a number of manuscripts during his tenure at University of Chicago in the early part of the 20th century (Smith 2018, 937). He cataloged this, the only papyrus n his collection, as "MS4" in a handwritten catalog, thus indicating that he possessed it, but not much else (Smith 2018, 938). He apparently photographed both sides of the fragment before having it mounted on glass in the early 1950s (Smith 2018, 939).
The papyrus itself is in three fragments, one 7x4.5cm and two more, each less than 1 square cm. Only the largest fragment has intelligible text, while the two smaller have only some ink traces (Smith 2018, 941). The papyrus has been folded and shows stains and insect damage. Smith believes the recto side was exposed, as it shows more wear.
The handwriting appears the same on both sides, though the hue and thickness of the writing differs from one side to the other. The text from John follows the fibres, so was probably written first (Smith 2018, 942). The handwriting suggests a date after 200. Smith details several oddities in the penmanship.
The abbreviations are relatively standard. However, of note to Smith, one use of God's name is not abbreviated, while others are. This is "unusual but not unparalleled" (Smith 2018, 943). Of interest to Smith is the fact that in most sacred texts the names of God are routinely abbreviated, while in quotations the abbreviation is less consistent. There is question whether this is part of a continuous text of John or a quotation (Smith 2018, 945).
Smith describes the formation of letters in detail, then moves on to discuss the overall format (Smith 2018, 946). It would not be part of a codex. The verso side would be upside down. This suggests it may have been part of a scroll (Smith 2018, 946). The fold, however, suggests it may have been in an amulet (Smith 2018, 947). Smith goes on to discuss the nature of amulet texts in some detail. The relatively extended nature of the text would be highly unusual for use in an amulet, as it contains two different pericopes (Smith 2018, 948). Smith entertains the possibility that the fragment is an example of writing practice or another noncontinuous but more extended work. However, he does not find conclusive evidence to identify it (Smith 2018, 949). The rotation was typical of re-used rolls for Christian texts. However, these normally have the Gospel text on a verso side, rather than the recto (Smith 2018, 950).
Smith describes the unidentified text from the verso side in detail. Little is present, and the surviving words do not make a clear context (Smith 2018, 953). The concepts which can be identified are not revolutionary in nature and shed little light on the possible provenance of the text.
Smith closes with a collated edition of the biblical text in comparison with the sources used in NA28 (Smith 2018, 955). He then presents the unidentified text, and his photographic evidence (Smith 2018, 956-958).