A Couple More Manuscripts of Questionable Origins

I’ve added a couple more pieces to the list of manuscripts of dubious origins. These are more pieces that have shown up in Scott Carroll’s talks in recent years, and both of these items may also be connected to the manuscripts stolen from the Egypt Exploration Society. The first is a collection of papyrus fragments identified only as “a patristic text.” I am also posting an image here:

This particular image comes from a talk given by Carroll in 2016 that is not freely available online (this is yet another instance in which I need to thank David Bradnick for digging up the evidence).

But, it appears that Carroll displayed the same manuscript in one of his online lectures in the same year:

The papyrus is never fully visible in this video, but it certainly seems to me to be the same piece (although Carroll calls it Aesop’s Fables in this video). But the second image is of the reverse side of the papyrus, so it looks like this piece is a codex. Also, notice that there is a red plastic ruler in the photo. This distinctive red ruler also appears in the image of a papyrus fragment that Carroll sometimes identifies as the Gospel of John and sometimes (as here) as Romans:

The manuscripts that Carroll displays in his various talks have been photographed in lots of very different settings. The presence of this ruler in these images may indicate nothing more than the fact that this was the ruler Carroll happened to have on hand one day when he made photographs. But these are the only two images I have seen with the ruler, so it may mean that the “Romans/John” fragment and the “patristic text” fragments were together at some stage before they reached Scott Carroll.

The second manuscript added to the list is a fragment of a papyrus leaf containing what looks like part of Luke 16:

This piece was also displayed by Carroll at a talk in 2016. Unlike many of the other Carroll pieces, I don’t think this one showed up in any of his other lectures. I’m happy to be corrected on that, if anyone has seen this papyrus appear elsewhere.

More to come.

This entry was posted in Antiquities Dealers and Collectors, Antiquities Market, Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Scott Carroll. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Couple More Manuscripts of Questionable Origins

  1. S. Z. says:

    Fascinating. I’m noticing that most of these are Greek (except the presumably Latin Suetonius and the Coptic parchment leaf of Mt.27-28). Has anyone been looking into the possibility that some of the recently-emerged-papyri-of-dubious-origins that are written in Coptic might also be linked with the EES? I remember hearing that the Oxyrhynchus collection does include an assortment of Coptic texts, and that these have not as yet been thoroughly researched or published.

    Concerning “Romans/John”, I wonder if it’s possible this was once grouped with the EES Romans 9-10 fragment that wound up split between the MOTB and Stimer collections, and only dissociated from the other fragments later. The image on your other page does call it ‘Romans 9’, the hand is somewhat similar, and they seem to have emerged around the same time.

  2. Sili says:

    Relatedly, has anyone bothered to ask what ‘boring’ papyri have been found when dissolving these ‘mummy masks’?

    Or are the ‘discoverers’ willing to claim their ‘cartonnage’ contained only NT material?

  3. D. Bradnick says:


    After briefly reviewing my notes, I wonder if it may be justified to add a few more items in the Green/MOTB collection to this list of questionable origins:

    1. A second-century Apocryphal Gospel that was on display at Verbum Domini (2012). This manuscript was in a display case with several other texts that were reportedly stolen from EES, such as P129 and P131. We now know that all of the texts in this case were from Oxyrhynchus. I think these details provide significant suspicion of its origin.
    2. A third-century BCE manuscript that was identified as an Unknown Work from Aristotle on Reason. This was also on display at Verbum Domini (2012).

    Both of these items would have been acquired by the Greens while Carroll was still employed. I do not know when the following were acquired, but they are also Greek manuscripts on papyrus:

    3. Iliad, Book 1 fragment (GC.PAP.000451)
    4. Romans 1 (GC.PAP.000390). This manuscript was on display at Verbum Domini II (2014) and was dated to 2nd-3rd century.
    5. Exodus (GC.PAP.00447). From a codex dated to 3rd-4th century CE.

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