The Egyptian Contribution to Christianity 311 Didache. But, though an Egyptian origin for at least the Epistle of Barnabas seems very probable, in no case is the evidence at all decisive. Continuous and dependable history begins with Clement of Alexandria and Bishop Demetrius. Yet something we do know concerning Christianity in Egypt in the first half of the second century, and our knowledge has recently been enlarged in a very interesting fashion. We actually possess a papyrus fragment of St. John's Gospel re- covered from Egypt, which is assigned on palaeographical grounds to some date earlier than A.D. I5O.1 Thus we may feel certain that there were Christians in Egypt and that they read St. John's Gospel at a fairly early date in the century. This conclusion is confirmed by the even more interesting discovery of fragments, likewise early in date, of a Gospel writing hitherto quite unknown, which is almost certainly in part dependent on St. John. It is thought probable that the actual manuscript was copied about the middle of the second century, and the text itself has been tentatively ascribed to the first quarter of the second century.2 These fragments include versions of other incidents—the healing of a leper, a question concerning pay- ment of tribute—which though clearly related to narratives in the Synoptic Gospels are yet sufficiently different to leave it uncertain whether the unknown author depends upon the Canonical texts or, as is perhaps more probable, upon some parallel source. We know from other information that apocryphal Gospels were current in Egypt at an early period. Such were the Gospel according to the Egyptians referred to by Origen and on occasion quoted by Clement, and the Gospel according to Matthias. But there is no convincing reason for supposing that these new fragments come from any particular Gospel which is otherwise known to us. 1 C. H. Roberts, An unpublished Fragment of the Fourth Gospel, Manchester University Press, 1935. 2 H. I. Bell, Recent Discoveries of Biblical Papyri, Oxford, 1937, p. 20.