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Editing Greek Papyri


Admission requirements

Admission for MA students with experience in Greek palaeography of documentary papyri, for example after completion of the MA course in Greek papyrology; when in doubt consult the teacher.


Students decipher, individually and in co-operation, the Greek text of unpublished papyrus fragments from the collection of the Leiden Papyrological Institute and make a first edition of an individually assigned fragment according to modern papyrological practices. Intermediate and final results will be presented to the group and a final edition will be prepared for publication.

Course Objectives

Knowledge and insights:

  • Thorough knowledge of the elements, structure and contents of papyrus editions of Greek documentary papyri, including current and previous papyrological practices.

  • Knowledge of and insight in the printed and digital papyrological resources to be used for editing documentary papyri and how to use them.


  • The ability to independently date and analyse different types of Greek handwriting found in documentary papyri.

  • The ability to independently decipher various types of Greek papyrus documents from different periods.

  • The ability to independently detect and solve problems of reading, formulation, translation, interpretation and context.

  • Presentation of an independently deciphered text including its problems in reading and interpretation.

  • The ability to participate in the discussion of and provide constructive feedback to other editions and to evaluate the value of such feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it.

  • The ability to write a complete papyrus edition following the latest papyrological guidelines and conventions, including material description, Greek transcription, critical apparatus, translation and commentary.

  • The ability to independently conduct research into the meaning of words, the use of names, terms and formulas, and the historical background of various aspects of papyrus documents.

  • The course requires active participation in each class, making contributions to collective progress on the basis of prior study and on-going discussion of individually assigned and other papyri.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of Instruction

Seminar, self-study and written assignments.

Assessment method


  • Active presence in class (20%)

  • Presentation(s) in class (30%)

  • Written assignments, including the final edition of the individually assigned papyrus fragment (50%)
    The requirements for MA and ResMA students are differentiated: ResMA students are expected to produce a final edition of (close to) publishable quality; MA students are expected to produce a final edition with all required elements in place based on existing literature, but that may still be in need of more thorough independent research.


The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


If the overall mark is unsatisfactory, the student can revise one or more of the assignments (after consultation with the teacher). There is no resit for the oral presentation(s). If the final mark is sufficient, the assignmens cannot be retaken.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • J.-L. Fournet, ‘Guidelines for editing papyri’, Chronique d’Égypte 97 (2022) 306-346 (also available online at

  • P. Schubert, ‘Editing a Papyrus’, in: R.S. Bagnall, The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology (Oxford 2009) 197-215 (also available online through the catalogue of the Leiden University Library)
    To be read in advance:

  • E.G. Turner, The Papyrologist at Work (Durham NC, 1973) (50p.) (also available online at

Other relevant literature will be announced on Brightspace.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website

Registration À la carte education, Contract teaching and Exchange

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of À la carte education (without taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.

Information for those interested in taking this course in context of Contract teaching (with taking examinations), eg. about costs, registration and conditions.
For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


  • Voor inhoudelijke vragen, neem contact op met de docent (rechts in informatiebalk).

  • Voor informatie over inschrijvingen, toelating, etc: Onderwijsadministratie [NAAM OA](link naar contactgegevens OA)


Not applicable.