Still more on P.Oxy. 83.5345

In an earlier posting, I noted that the updated statement from the Egypt Exploration Society still left some lingering questions about the treatment of this papyrus fragment and that some of these questions could best be answered by Dan Wallace and others involved in the non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) related to this papyrus. Now Dan Wallace has himself offered an update shedding some light on the NDA he signed. This is all very strange. It would be helpful if the “major collection that was interested in purchasing the papyrus” would identify itself and release all parties from this NDA so that the academic community can get a little clarity about the recent history of this papyrus.


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16 Responses to Still more on P.Oxy. 83.5345

  1. Robert says:

    Jerry Pattengale was at that time the Executive Director of the Green Scholar Initiative. Who gave the Hobby Lobby Clan the idea that they might be able to purchase 𝔓137, even providing them with photographs of the fragment or at least allowing their representative to photograph it? It seems doubtful that this could have happened without the knowledge of Dirk Obbink, who has also worked as a consultant to the Greens.

  2. David Bradnick says:

    You write, “It would be helpful if the ‘major collection that was interested in purchasing the papyrus’ would identify itself and release all parties from this NDA.” However,Wallace’s NDA is with the seller, not the purchaser, and it’s reasonable to assume that all parties related to the “major collection” also had to sign NDA’s with the seller. Thus only the seller could release everyone from the NDA’s, and unfortunately, that’s not likely to happen. The seller – assuming there is one – has too much to lose.

    • Patty says:

      I took Wallace’s statement as the seller requested the NDA but it was Pattengale who represented the Greens who drew up the document.

      • Ah yes, I see now (I just read Elijah Hixson’s new post, which clarifies that Wallace is saying an NDA with the purchaser at the request of the seller). That’s really odd.

    • Wallace wrote, “The NDA I signed was with Jerry Pattengale, who represented a major collection that was interested in purchasing the papyrus.” That’s the purchaser, no? And we all of course know that the Green Collection is well known for its NDAs, but Wallace seems weirdly hesitant name the names (again names that we all already know). All I’m saying is that the parties that demanded these NDAs are at this point creating the impression of “something to hide,” and it would be best if everyone was released from legal obligations and allowed to speak freely.

      • David Bradnick says:

        I initially read Wallace’s statements as the NDA was with the seller. Wallace writes, “Pattengale relayed to me that the reason for me signing the NDA was that it was requested by the seller before I could see the images of the manuscript.” Perhaps I misread? Regardless, I agree that NDA’s present problems. Perhaps it gives the impression of “something to hide” because there is something to hide?

  3. Matthew Hamilton says:

    The seller “X” requires that the potential buyer “Y” have any person (“Z”) who wishes to view the papyrus (or photographs) sign an NDA.
    Is it possible that “Y” has not outed themselves because in the world of buying high end antiquities maintaining confidentially is everything?
    If “Y” outs themselves and in consequence also outs “X”, then dealers may not in the future trust or deal with “Y”.
    Everyone is assuming “X” is Obbink and “Y” is the Green Collection, but many of us (myself included) have assumed too much in this matter. Is there any chance that the seller is someone other than Obbink and the buyer is someone other than the Green Collection?

  4. Yes. Matthew, it would seem likely that there is at least one relevant name as yet unmentioned. Perhaps curious that the Mark-identifier is (so far) one such. I could be mistaken, of course.

    • David Bradnick says:

      Does anyone know if Nick Gonis was still at Oxford in 2011/2012? If so, would be interesting to hear what insights he could provide.

      • Matthew Hamilton says:

        One thing I find really odd. If I were a student at Oxford in 2011, among several students shown a newly identified fragment of the Gospel of Mark and told it might be as old as the late 1st century AD – then I would be bragging about what I saw to everybody I know. And then the “First Century Mark” controversy begins, again everybody would be hearing about what I saw.
        Yet …. silence. No student from Oxford has said a word about this, either back in 2011 or since then, despite the EES stating they don’t have NDAs. Why the silence?

      • Right, Matthew (below, as I don’t see a reply tab there). And–usually–wouldn’t whoever made the identification as Mark want it known that she or he was the one who accomplished that?

  5. John Marine says:

    The odd thing for me is that it was initially reported by Prof. Wallace during his Feb 2012 debate with Bart Ehrman that the NDA was with E.J. Brill, implying that they would be publishing the fragment if/once purchased. I am not quite sure how Brill got connected to this papyrus (nothing has been said by them since the story broke that FCM was a P. Oxy.), save that it now seems possible that the Bible Museum may be working with Brill to publish the contents of their holdings? Also, any updates on the mummy masks that were originally bandied about as the source of FCM?

  6. JoshuaJ says:

    Wallace certainly seems to be implicating EES or Obbink or both as the seller. This would mean the NDA between the purchaser (Green collection) and Wallace was at the behest of EES or Obbink or both. But if this is indeed the case, why wasn’t Scott Carroll also under an NDA with EES or Obbink? After all, EES and Carroll both confirm that Carroll was shown the manuscript by Obbink, and yet Carroll continued to quite publicly discuss FCM over the years, even naming Obbink as the most important person involved with the publication during his interview with Josh McDowell in 2015. In the same interview, Carroll stated: ”There were some delays with its purchase and I was working at that time with the Green family collection which I had the privilege of organizing and putting together for the Hobby Lobby family and had hoped that they would at that time acquire it. But they delayed and didn’t.”

    Carroll certainly didn’t behave as though he were under an NDA with EES or Obbink. This is consistent with EES’ claim that neither they nor Obbink ever knew anything about any NDAs. However, recall that Wallace claimed his NDA to be so restrictive that he could not even acknowledge the existence of the manuscript. Therefore, it would seem that the restrictions placed on Wallace came from Pattengale/Green collection, not from the alleged seller (EES/Obbink). Otherwise, we would expect Carroll to have been just as silent about the matter as Wallace had been.

  7. Pingback: “First Century” Mark and “Second Century” Romans and “Second Century” Hebrews and “Second Century” 1 Corinthians | Variant Readings

  8. Tom Hennell says:

    While there are big discrepancies between the statement from the EES and various continued posts from Scott Carroll in respect of his two opportunities to see P.Oxy. 5345 in Dirk Obbink’s rooms; there is nevertheless one item of common ground that seems to have escaped comment in the recent debates;

    .. which is that the ostensible reason for Scott Carroll’s being in Dirk Obbink’s rooms in 2011 was that he was acting on behalf of the Green Collection to assemble exhibits of biblical papyri for a forthcoming exhibition (sponsored by the Green Collection) over Lent and Easter 2012 in the Vatican. Such discussions would necessarily clarify issues of ownership; so Carroll cannot have been under any illusions that P.Oxy. 5345 then belonged to the EES. It is clear too from the EES statement that although P.Oxy. 5345 was never for sale, the possibility that it might be loaned out to this (and maybe other) exhibitions had by no means been excluded.

    Neither Obbink nor Carroll state explicitly that Carroll was allowed to photograph the papyri that were under consideration for loan, but it would surely be entirely acceptable (and maybe expected) for him to do so. No doubt the EES would also have expected any such photographs solely to be used for the purpose indicated; but nothing in Scott Carroll’ career suggests that he would have done anything other than brag it around – together with the claim (explicit in his twitter message of 1st December 2011) that the credit for the ‘discovery’ of its early date was his alone.

    So there is no mystery as to how photographs of P.Oxy. 5345 might have come into the hands of persons who could have seen an opportunity to represent themselves as its owners, willing to sell to any suitable collection backed by a billionaire sugar-daddy. Such interests would have every reason to propose that the Green Collection obtain NDAs from any scholar allowed the brief privilege of a view of the filched photographs; and moreover to talk-up its ‘First Century’ dating. As has been noted several times, it did seem strange that the list of scholars given access to these photos excluded any with papyrological expertise.

    The key point being that – as we can now easily tell – there was never a possibility of any serious paleographer maintaining a first century date after a detailed examination of P.Oxy. 5345. So we can be confident that the accounts of Dirk Obbink proposing such a date (whether in 2011 or later) must always have been without substance. It was only when the penny dropped in Oxford, in 2016, that the EES realised that the fabled First Century Mark, and their own 2nd/3rd century P.Oxy. 5345, were actually one and the same. Which is when the scam was rumbled. Though Daniel Wallace clearly remains aggrieved that nobody bothered to let him in on this discovery til just now.

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