May 26, 2022

Digitization: University of Michigan Makes St. Paul’s Ancient Letters Available on iPad/iPhone


Thirty of the rarest, earliest leaves of the Epistles of St. Paul, dating from 180 to 220 AD, have been digitized and turned into an interactive app usable on iPhones and iPads.


The collection of letters, known to scholars as Papyrus 46, is believed to be the oldest known surviving copy of the Letters of St. Paul. Out of the 104 page collection, 30 leaves reside here in Ann Arbor, 56 leaves reside at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin and 18 are lost. A leaf is made up of two pages of a book.

The new app, prepared by the Digital Media Commons 3-D Lab at U-M, allows users to flip through the letters as they would a book.

Users of the app can employ their finger to translate the Greek text into English. Annotations explain translation discrepancies and highlight errors put into the text by the original scribe.

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See Also: View Some Digitized Letters from Collection of Chester Beatty Library in Dublin

See Also: App Boosts Accessibility of U-M Library’s Epistles of St. Paul Papyrus (via UM Record)

“This gives an idea of what it was like to read an ancient book, with no capitals, no spaces between words, and no punctuation,” explains Arthur Verhoogt, acting archivist of the library’s papyrology collection.

See Also: Take a Look at Other Projects from the U. of Michigan 3D Lab

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.