In 1950, a guy named Paul Coleman-Norton, then the Associate Professor of Latin at Princeton University, published a paper in the highly-respected scholarly journal Catholic Biblical Quarterly entitled “An Amusing Agraphon,” wherein he claims to have found an agraphon of Jesus in a fragment that contained a set of sermons in Matthew’s gospel.
According to Coleman-Norton, he chanced upon said fragment while being stationed with the U.S. armed forces at Fédala (now Mohammedia) in French Morocco in 1943 during World War II. During a visit to a local mosque he was shown a “thick tome composed almost wholly of Arabic writings” in which was “a single unnumbered page of Greek, sandwiched between two tracts on materia medica.” Due to the situation and the exigencies of the moment, he was not able to photograph the page, but he was allowed to transcribe the text. Later, as he was studying the transcript, he began to realize something: the page is a fragment of a Greek translation of a 5th century Latin work known as Opus Imperfectum in Matthaeum, a collection of homilies on Matthew chapters 1-13 and 19-25 (it was known as opus imperfectum precisely because it was ‘incomplete’, omitting a number of passages).
Now the fragment contained something of high interest: in Matthew 24:51, after Jesus warns that “in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” (indeed the Opus Imperfectum lacks a commentary to that passage) the manuscript seems to indicate that the conversation continued.
Καὶ ἰδοὺ, τις τῶν μαθητῶν ἐφεστότων αὐτοῦ ἔλεγεν· Ῥαββί, ὃ λέγεται μεθερμηνευόμενον Διδάσκαλε, πῶς δυνήσεται ταῦτα γενέσται, ἐάν ὧσιν ἀνόδοντες; ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν· Ὀλιγόπιστε, μή σκύλλου· εἰ ἄρα τινῶν ὑστερήσονται, οἱ ὀδόντες προσπαρασκευάσονται.
And behold, a certain one of his disciples standing by said unto him: ‘Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted, Master), how can these things be if they be toothless?’ And Jesus answered and said: ‘O thou of little faith, trouble not thyself; if haply they will be lacking any, teeth will be provided.’
Now, does this all sound familiar to you?
[Wait for it…]