That Papyrus with Sayings of Jesus

A papyrus was made of plant fibers and a popular way of writing documents, taking notes, and so on in ancient times. This was a budget writing method, and there were more durable (and expensive) materials. They can last a long time in the right conditions.

Oxyrhynchus was a city in Egypt that had a passel of papyri (including biblical writings) in garbage dumps. There are many reasons biblical material could be there, such as mistakes, copies may have been upgraded to better material — or the owners realized they were not valid.

Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 3522 (I can't legally use 5575), Wikimedia Commons / public domain
There are many manuscripts and fragments, and they keep scholars quite busy. The Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 5575 has sayings that are attributed to Jesus as well as short quotes from real Gospels. Surprisingly, even this spurious piece has value, helping researchers date other materials and so forth. Also, it helps reveal the how seriously people took the biblical manuscript copying process.
What was trash around 2,000 years ago is today a treasure trove of information about that part of the ancient world. In the late 1800s–early 1900s, two papyrologists led a team who sifted through the garbage dumps to collect a vast amount of papyrus, many in pieces as small as a few square centimeters (less than a square inch). These are now stored and are being researched, but there is still much information that is yet to be published.

Thanks to Oxyrhynchus, we have tax receipts, personal letters, records of business transactions, and other fascinating glimpses into the ancient world. But what does it tell us about the Bible?

You can read it all at "Examining the Newly Published 'Sayings of Jesus' Papyrus."