The Cast in “Greek Papyri”

Oxyrhynchus Papyri

Many thanks to Ann Hanson for helping to identify the figures in the “Greek Papyri” film featured in my last post. Starting from the beginning of the film:

The voice reading the selection from Winckelmann’s account of the Herculaneum papyri at about the 4 minute mark is that of Otto Skutsch (University College London): Continue reading

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The Film “Greek Papyri”

Greek Papyri

Thanks to a notice from an anonymous commenter, I am thrilled to report that the film “Greek Papyri–The Rediscovery of the Ancient World” is now available on Youtube. The film was produced in 1971 by the Greek and Latin Departments and the Slade School of Fine Art at University College London. It was directed by Mirek Dohnal and features some fantastic archival footage of the British papyrologists of the day. The film is mentioned in an exhibition catalog by T. S. Pattie and E. G. Turner, The Written Word on Papyrus: An Exhibition Held in the British Museum 30 July – 27 October 1974 (British Library Board, 1974). Continue reading

Posted in Mummies, Mummy cartonnage, Oxyrhynchus Papyri | 3 Comments

Unpublished Christian Papyri from Oxyrhynchus: Some Numbers

Oxyrhynchus Papyri Pile

Excavated papyri; image source: Egypt Exploration Society

My book on early Christian manuscripts contains a chapter on the Christian material that has so far emerged from the excavations of Grenfell and Hunt at Oxyrhynchus. One of the questions I was unable to answer during my research was  to what degree the Christian literary material that has been published in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri series is representative of the total amount of Christian literary material that was collected by Grenfell and Hunt. To phrase it another way, can we know whether the 160 or so Christian books (codices and rolls) so far published in the P.Oxy. series represent 5%, or 20%, or 50%, or 60%, etc. of the total number of Christian fragments collected in the Oxyrhynchus excavations.

You may recall that, in light of the odd circumstances surrounding the identification and publication of P.Oxy. 83.5345 (the papyrus formerly known as “first-century Mark”), the Egypt Exploration Society announced that in the spring of 2016, “the EES decided to review what NT fragments had been identified in its collection but not yet published.” Now the EES has made available the results of that summary (in the form of rough numbers): Continue reading

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The Green Collection’s “Block Book” and What It Means to Own a Cultural Heritage Item

During the “Passages” Speaker Series in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2012 and 2013, it was customary for Jerry Pattengale to host the evening talks and to provide updates on the development of the Green Collection. In one of these updates, Pattengale briefly described some of the circumstances surrounding the Green Collection’s purchase of a particular book. What he said helps us to understand what it can mean for the Green Collection to “own” some of its artifacts. Continue reading

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Burning Papyri

Schow ChartaAs I compiled stories of discoveries of early Christian manuscripts for my book, God’s Library, one of the recurring tropes I encountered was the claim (usually by European and American scholars and collectors) that native Egyptians burned manuscripts. Such stories circulated about the Beatty Biblical Papyri, the Bodmer Papyri, the Nag Hammadi Codices, Codex Sinaiticus, and the Tura Papyri (for further details and references, see the entry for “burning of manuscripts” in the index of God’s Library).

The idea that “the natives burned” manuscripts is a trope that goes back to the very beginning of European encounters with Egyptian papyri. The earliest such report known to me is Nicolao Schow, Charta papyracea graece scripta musei Borgiani Velitris (Rome: A. Fulgonium, 1788), iii–iv: “diripiebant Turcae, earumque fumo (nam odorem fumi aromaticum esse dicunt) sese oblectabant” (the Turks tear them up; they are delighted by the smoke, for they say its smell is aromatic). Continue reading

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P129: Some Questions about a Papyrus of 1 Corinthians

On a few occasions, I’ve mentioned a fragmentary papyrus leaf containing 1 Corinthians in the Green Collection, GC.PAP.000120 (which has been assigned the number P129 in the INTF Liste). In one of Scott Carroll’s videos from 2018, this papyrus was featured along with an additional fragment said to be from the same manuscript. The “new” fragment is on the right side of the slide shown here, while the Green Collection portion is on the left:

P129 Carroll Slide 2018

Slide from a talk by Scott Carroll showing fragments of a papyrus of 1 Corinthians (P129); image source: “Stones and Scriptures”

Now, thanks to some clever detective work by David Bradnick, we have some more information about this new fragment. But first, here is what Carroll had to say in the 2018 video: Continue reading

Posted in Antiquities Dealers and Collectors, Antiquities Market, Green Collection, Green Collection 1 Corinthians, Green Collection Romans, Scott Carroll | 4 Comments

The Tchacos-Ferrini Codex of the Pauline Epistles in Coptic

While working through Scott Carroll’s videos, I’ve mentioned what I’m calling the Tchacos-Ferrini Codex of the Pauline epistles in Coptic (LDAB 108582). Little is currently known about this papyrus codex aside from an article in the journal Early Christianity by Hans-Gebhard Bethge from 2013. Through this article we learn that this is the codex that was allegedly found together with three other codices (supposedly in Qarara in Egypt): one containing the Gospel of Judas and other texts (LDAB 108481), one containing Exodus in Greek (LDAB 66871), and one containing mathematical material in Greek (LDAB 10719). These books first surfaced on the antiquities market in the early 1980s. Coptologist Stephen Emmel saw them in Geneva hotel room in 1983 and reported as follows on the codex of Paul’s letters: Continue reading

Posted in Antiquities Dealers and Collectors, Antiquities Market, Scott Carroll, Tchacos-Ferrini Exodus Codex, Tchacos-Ferrini Pauline Epistles Codex | 1 Comment