There also is a Greek papyrus from Qumran Cave 4 which shows several letters resembling Papyrus Magdalen Gr.17, such as the Alpha, the Beta, etc.: pap4QLXXLeviticusb. As Parsons points out, the script is far from uniform, but this papyrus from Cave 4 could be dated to the mid-first century AD.
Unwittingly, he then procedes to offer an interesting case study: In his drawings of letters of the preceding fragment 4QLXXLeva (parts of a leather scroll which he dates to the first century BC), the Alpha, Beta, Delta, Epsilon, Eta, Iota, Kappa, Eta etc are identical or near-identical to what we find in Magdalen Gr.17. In fact, the letters he draws could have been taken straight out of Gr.17. Looking at the fragments themselves, there would seem to be at least two differences, however: the Qumran Leviticusa is sloping slightly to the right, and the letters are very close to each other, occasionally even connected (ligatures).
This is one of the parts of Thiede’s thesis that is savagely nitpicked the most by his critics. The reason? Thiede’s use of “etc.” Not only does Thiede not specify just what these two 'etc.'s are supposed to cover, he also fails to provide concrete examples of just how exactly the letters in these two manuscripts are “identical or near-identical” to P64. That’s sloppy scholarship. As textual critic David C. Parker (Was Matthew Written before 50 CE? The Magdalen Papyrus of Matthew) bluntly said:
Two other examples containing Leviticus (4QLXXLeva and b) are simply not used with enough precision for one to make a reasoned response. The former has eight letters ‘etc’ which are ‘identical or near-identical’; the other ‘shows several letters resembling [the Magdalen papyrus], such as the Alpha, the Beta, etc’. Unless we know the scope of ‘etc’, and the criteria according to which such words as ‘resembling’, ‘identical’ and ‘near-identical’ are used, we cannot comment.
Peter M. Head discusses the letters in more depth:
The second source to which Thiede appeals for comparison is pap4QLXXLevb (a papyrus manuscript of Leviticus in Greek from cave 4; see plate three). This manuscript, according to Thiede, ‘shows several letters resembling Papyrus Magdalen Gr. 17, such as the alpha, the beta, etc.’ It is not clear how many letters are covered by Thiede’s ‘etc.’! In fact, however, even those letters specified are not actually very similar: alpha has a horizontal half-serif at the lower end of its upright strokes and a horizontal cross-bar (contrast P64 as previously mentioned), while beta is not even fully attested on P64. In general, the style of pap4QLXXLevb is decorative with thin strokes and numerous hooks and (half-) serifs and no descenders below the bottom line (unlike P64). Some letters are very different from P64. For example, epsilon is very rounded, pi has a pronounced curve in its right upright, sigma is quite rounded, tau has an extended cross-bar, and upsilon has a lower hoop.
…] Another manuscript appealed to by Thiede is 4QLXXLeva, a fragment of the Greek Old Testament from Qumran (see plate four). Thiede argued that ‘the alpha, beta, epsilon, eta, iota, kappa, eta (sic) etc. are identical or near-identical to what we find in Magdalen Gr. 17’. The initial impression is that this script is quite different from those we have examined up to this point, generally lacking decoration and ornamentation. As will be obvious from the plate, the layout and general appearance is quite different from P64: more upright with narrower lettering and, as Thiede noted, a slight right-hand lean and a tendency to ligature.
As regards the letters mentioned by Thiede, we ought to note that the manuscript is not consistent in its letter-forms, so a number of different alpha-shapes occur (with very narrow horizontal bar, without any observable cross-bar, and with upward sloping cross-bar). The upward sloping cross-bar most closely approximates the alphas in P64 but could hardly be regarded as identical …] Since no beta is completely attested in P64, it is strange to find an appeal here, especially noting the proposed beta in P64 (the first letter of line 2 in Frag 3 verso) which has a very small lower circle, unlike those in 4QLXXLeva (see e.g. line 1, 9, 14 etc.). Only two deltas occur in 4QLXXLeva …], and they are narrower than those in P64. The epsilons of 4QLXXLeva are much more circular than those in P64. The etas and kappas are not particularly dissimilar, but the iotas do not extend below the line (as in P64). Other letters in 4QLXXLeva which are quite different from those of P64 include mu [M] (with outward sloping sides), pi Π] (with pronounced curve in right hand upright), rho [P] (more curved, single stroke), and upsilon [Y] (squarer upper section). Such a list of significant differences precludes any stylistic identification of 4QLXXLeva with P64.