One feature of particular interest is the number that this papyrus assigns to the Beast: 616, rather than the usual 666. (665 is also found.) We knew that this variant existed: Irenaeus cites (and refutes) it. But this is the earliest instance that has so far been found. The number chi, iota, stigma (hexakosiai deka hex) is in the third line of the fragment shown below. But why does it matter what the number is? For that, we have to turn to ancient Greek ideas about numerology.
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