P52 can be compared with PSI V 446 (AD 133- 137; TM 19292) and P.
Summary Carsten Pieter Thiede is well known for his "discovery" of the earliest known fragment of the Gospel of Matthew in the Bodleian Library.
Carsten Thiede: Yes, she excavated or had others to excavate on her behalf, underneath the rubble, which was there once the temple had been destroyed, Hadrians temple, and so some of her people, her diggers, her fellow archaeologists, found bars, beams of wood of crosses and indeed the inscription, at least one of the inscriptions.
You see what happened was when someone was crucified, the horizontal beam and the inscription, which was not just an inscription for Jesus, anyone who was crucified by the Romans in those days had at least a papyrus or a piece of wood attached to his neck or attached to the cross detailing the reason why that person was crucified.
It would have been used and re-used and re-used again, many, many times, over many years.
So for that bar, or for one of those two beams or bars, you would not really have any chance of authenticating any of those simply because they are all too small and they could be authentic, but you dont really know.
With thanks to Larry Hurtado and the Ph D student who brought this to his attention, I have accessed a recently published article that, as Dr Hurtado himself says, “all concerned with the study of NT manuscripts should read”: Pasquale Orsini & Willy Clarysse, “Early New Testament Manuscripts and Their Dates: A Critique of Theological Palaeography,” 88 (2012): 443-74.
As Hurtado himself points out, “the authors are both professional/trained palaeographers, and Clarysse is the founder of the extremely valuable Leuven Database of Ancient Books (LDAB), which provides data on all published/edited manuscripts from the ancient world, and can be accessed online here.” The point of the recent article? These comparisons are inappropriate, however, since both P104 and P52 are written in round majuscule.
Now he believes hes discovered a piece of the true cross in a church in Rome, where its been kept for the past 1700 years.
But this is no ordinary piece of wood from the cross, as Carsten Thiede explains.