There is a good deal of helpful and interesting information in this update. For now, I’ll just comment upon a a few points.
“The identification of the fragment as Mark was made in 2011 by a researcher working for Professor Obbink, then one of the General Editors of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri series. Professor Obbink decided he would himself prepare the text for publication.”
First, congratulations to the (unnamed) “researcher” who in 2011 identified the piece as belonging to the Gospel According to Mark. Well done. A pity the researcher was not able to publish the manuscript her/himself.
There is also some new (to me, anyway) information about the cataloguing process:
“EES records include a photograph and brief record card for each papyrus awaiting publication, which were prepared to assist the General Editors in selecting papyri for future volumes. The cards were created without detailed study of the texts and without access to today’s online search tools. The record card for 5345, created by Dr Coles in the early 1980s, is marked ‘I/II’, suggesting a late first- or early second-century date. He did not identify it as Mark. This is not surprising because the clearest link is a word on the abraded side which would not have been legible on a quick inspection.”
I was unaware of the card+photograph system. This is useful to know. I find the particular treatment of this fragment quite interesting. It is surprising to me that a codex fragment dated “I/II” did not receive more immediate attention, even among the great riches of the Oxyrhynchus collection.
Second, it’s good to get the corrected inventory number: 101/14(b). I’m not aware of other published pieces with numbers especially close to this one. The only one that comes to mind is P.Oxy. 71.4804, a fragmentary leaf from a papyrus codex containing the Gospel According to John assigned to the fourth century, which is 101/157(e).
Third, there is some curious information regarding Dirk Obbink:
“Professor Obbink insists that he never said the papyrus was for sale, and that while he did receive some payments from the Green Collection for advice on other matters, he did not accept any payment for or towards purchase of this text.”
The “other matters” for which payments were received from the Green Collection would seem to involve the purchasing of manuscripts, if I correctly understand the account in Moss and Baden’s Bible Nation (p. 40):
“Despite appearing in Green Collection publicity materials, promising graduate students positions at Oxford partially funded by the Green family, and consulting with the Greens on acquisitions, Dirk Obbink refused to comment on the subject, claiming that he is ‘not involved in the study of [the Green] collection.'”
There is also some strangeness with regard to non-disclosure agreements. According to the new EES statement:
“The EES has no knowledge of, and has never seen, the NDA which Professor Daniel Wallace says someone required him to sign about the unpublished Mark fragment. Professor Obbink too says he has no knowledge of it. …Professor Obbink says that he did show the papyrus in his rooms (where it was temporarily for teaching purposes) to Scott Carroll, but to no-one else except some Oxford students.”
This statement sits somewhat awkwardly with Dan Wallace’s own claims:
“Later in 2012 I did get the opportunity to see the manuscript. I was allowed to see it only after I signed a non-disclosure agreement. From that point on, I have essentially kept my mouth shut (though I was also asked not to take the blog down, since that would only raise more questions). What struck me about the fragment especially was that in Mark 1.17 instead of αυτοις ο Ιησους the papyrus did not have ο Ιησους.”
It would be helpful to know with whom that non-disclosure agreement was signed as well as the exact circumstances of this viewing of the manuscript in 2012 (such information would of course need to be supplied by Wallace, not the EES). Given some of my own experiences in asking about unpublished materials in the Oxyrhynchus collection, I’m really quite taken aback at the way this particular unpublished piece was so freely paraded around (to, it seems, a particular kind of audience).
Along with everyone else, I’m happy to see more Christian material from Oxyrhychus published. It’s always exciting to see the new material. But even this updated statement from the EES leaves me feeling like there is a lot that was…unusual about the study and publication of this piece.