A Green Collection Papyrus of Genesis in Greek

I continue to work through the “Passages” speakers series videos. During his talk in the 2011 sequence of lectures, Scott Carroll mentioned a number of literary papyri that the Green Collection had acquired.

carroll passages 2011 papyri

In the course of explaining the differences between literary papyri and documents, Carroll mentioned some of the Green Collection’s holdings:

“Papyri? I could not approximate the number of papyri that we have, because many pieces need to be pieced together. Mummy masks are dissolved. Things happen. . . .We have one of the earliest known works of Plato. We have one of the earliest known Greek literary texts in the world. It was written and copied certainly, no question, in the lost library of Alexandria. Alright? Ah, more fragments of that were found three days ago, two days ago–I found–I showed my parents! Alright? I mean that’s exciting!”

Carroll then gestures to the screen to describe one of the papyri being displayed:

“This is a text we’ve recently acquired. It’s from the book of Exodus and is an unknown text. Ah, so all sorts of texts fall into this category. Um, about 40% of our texts are literary texts. Most of them are in Greek. Many in Coptic, and the rest are in late Egyptian.”

But the fragmentary literary papyrus showing on the screen at the point when Carroll mentions the Exodus manuscript seems to contain instead Genesis (I can’t make out all the letters, but my guess would be Genesis 29:6-10):

green collection genesis papyrus

Slide from a lecture by Scott Carroll showing papyri in the Green Collection (“The Green Collection, Scientific Breakthroughs and Bible Translation,” 23 August 2011, Oklahoma City)

Scott Carroll has on other occasions mentioned an ancient copy (copies?) of Genesis in the Green Collection. I had assumed these referred to the (recently revealed as fake) “Dead Sea Scroll” fragment of Genesis in the collection. For instance, in a 2013 lecture, Carroll again listed off Green Collection holdings at about the 34:45 mark:

Ah, all kinds of–I figure about 65 classical texts, discovered in the last year and a half. Biblical, biblical manuscripts, Dead Sea Scrolls. Um, I, I had mentioned this as well, this is abso-, this is a month ago. A leather robe, worn by a high priest in Israel, dating a hundred years after Daniel, written with Aramaic scripture around the collar. I, I hope you understand how unbelievable that is. I’m sorry I didn’t bring it with me [laughter]. We’re still working on it. Uh, these are all texts of Genesis, of Exodus. We have the earliest text of Exodus 24 here. Um, so [audience member asks: ‘That’s the earliest in the world?’] earliest in the world, yeah there’s nothing earlier in the world. This is the earliest in the world.

The video contains no clear images of the items that Carroll mentions, so it’s not entirely certain to which Genesis manuscript he is referring. Later in the video, he mentions a manuscript containing Genesis 17 (as usual, “the earliest text in the world of Genesis 17,” at about 44:40). In any event, we can add this papyrus of Genesis 29 to the list of Green Collection papyri for which we await publication with details about acquisition and provenance.


This entry was posted in Antiquities Market, Green Collection, Green Collection Greek Genesis, Passages Speakers Series, Scott Carroll. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A Green Collection Papyrus of Genesis in Greek

  1. D. Bradnick says:

    This fragment is GC.PAP.000389. You may find it particularly interesting that it’s on a re-used scroll. The Green Collection claims that the fragment is from Egypt and (likely no surprise) dates to the late 2nd cent. C.E. It was on display as part of the Passages exhibit in Santa Clarita (2015).

    Given your recent work on reused scrolls, it’s a shame that this fragment has disappeared from the public eye and has been kept out of the hands of scholars at large. The Greens claim that they want to advance research on these materials, but they have largely hampered academic inquiry. Hypocritical? This once again raises questions as to whether they have an ethical obligation to open the books on their collection, repatriate (if necessary), and allow scholarly research to take place.

    • Thanks, David. I wasn’t aware that this piece had been on display. Was it in a catalog associated with the exhibit?

      • D. Bradnick says:


        This Genesis fragment is listed in the Passages Exhibit Guide for Santa Clarita (2015). Unfortunately, there isn’t any further information beyond what I’ve provided above. There are some other items listed that may interest you:

        Psalms 111-112 (GC.MS.000503.2) Sahidic Coptic. Egypt. Codex Fragment on papyrus. 4th/6th-7th cent. CE.

        Ephesians 4-5 (GC.PAP.000414). Sahidic Coptic. Egypt. 4th cent. CE.

        Cartonnage Disks (GC.PAP.000398). Possibly 4th-5th cent. *I wonder if these items have any connection to the Samuel manuscript, considering its circular shape.

        Polychrome and Gilt Cartonnage Mummy Mask (GC.MMY.000152). 1st cent. BCE to 1st cent. CE.

        In the slide above, the manuscript to the right, as Carroll mentions, is a dowry. It was slated to be published in The Green Scholars Initiative Papyrus Series, Vol. 1 by Jennifer Larson (Kent State). If I recall correctly, he also mentions a fragment of Demosthenes in this portion of his lecture. Carroll claims that it dates to 250 BCE. and was discovered in a mummy mask in Oklahoma City. I’ve learned that this text is from “On the Crown,” sections 271-83 (GC.PAP.000353) and was to be published by Harvey Yunis in the same Brill volume.

        I’ve come across information on some of the other papyri that were to be published in Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 of this series. Let me know if you’re interested. I’d be more than happy to compare notes.

  2. Thanks, David. Yes, let’s touch base. You can get in touch with me by e-mail (just my first name [dot] last name [at] gmail).

  3. Pingback: Two More Greek Papyri in the Green Collection: Exodus and Hebrews | Variant Readings

  4. Joe Slater says:

    A leather robe, worn by a high priest in Israel, dating a hundred years after Daniel, written with Aramaic scripture around the collar. I, I hope you understand how unbelievable that is.

    Truer words were never spoken. Does anyone here think this is at all plausible?

  5. Pingback: More Early Christian Greek and Coptic Papyri in the Green Collection? | Variant Readings

  6. Pingback: Recently Emerged Papyri of Dubious Origins: A Working List | Variant Readings

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