A New(-ish) Published Papyrus from the Green Collection!

Sometimes my own oversights absolutely astound me. On my last update to the list of recently emerged papyri of dubious origins, I noted that a papyrus of a work of Aristotle in the Green Collection was said to have been extracted from mummy cartonnage along with another literary papyrus on the mysteries. Thanks to an especially observant anonymous commenter, I now see that the latter papyrus (or another one in the Green Collection incredibly similar to it), was actually published (back in 2011!) by Professor Dirk Obbink.

The details of the publication are as follows: Dirk Obbink, “Dionysos In and Out of the Papyri,” pages 281-295 in Renate Schlesier (ed.), A Different God? Dionysos and Ancient Polytheism (Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2011). The image of the papyrus (Figure 4, pictured above) is “© Imaging Papyri Project, Oxford.”

No provenance details are given for the papyrus other than the following brief statement, which introduces the papyrus as a kind of addendum to the rest of the essay:

“…Nor is there any reason to think that we have seen the last of Dionysos in the papyri. A new papyrus commentary (fig. 4) now in the Green Family Collection in the United States is offered below, as testimony. A kind of τὰ περὶ Διονύσου or treatise on Dionysiaca in the form of a commentary on an unknown classical work of literature, it begins with the explication of a word in the text…”

Then follows an edition of the Greek text and an English translation. I would raise three points of interest.

First, Prof. Obbink makes no mention of either mummy cartonnage or the Aristotle papyrus elsewhere said to have been found together with this papyrus (recall that Scott Carroll has claimed that he and “a professor from Oxford” extracted the Aristotle papyrus from mummy cartonnage, and in another setting, it was claimed that the Aristotle papyrus and the mysteries papyrus were found together).

Second, Prof. Obbink assigns the papyrus to the third century BCE (“datable to the second half of the third century B.C.”). Since no further information is given, presumably this date is based on the palaeographic analysis of the handwriting. To judge from the photograph, I don’t know that I would offer such a narrow date, but the handwriting definitely has a Ptolemaic look about it. In that regard, it should be noted Ptolemaic papyri are very scarce in the (published portion of the) Oxyrhynchus collection of the Egypt Exploration Society, so this piece constitutes further evidence for additional sources of papyri bought by the Green Collection. It would be highly useful for the Green Collection to release their purchasing records for this piece, all the more so since it has already been published.

Third, this volume is said to consist of “papers presented at an international conference held in March 2009 at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.” So, whether this papyrus was part of the original presentation or was added on before the 2011 publication of the volume, the appearance of this papyrus on the scene would seem to coincide closely with the beginnings of the Green Collection. Again, it would be useful for the Green Collection to release the purchase date and source of this papyrus.

This entry was posted in Antiquities Dealers and Collectors, Antiquities Market, Dirk Obbink, Green Collection, Green Collection Mysteries Papyrus, Scott Carroll. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A New(-ish) Published Papyrus from the Green Collection!

  1. Διονύσου, I presume. But more importantly, keep up the good work!

  2. Greg Matthews says:

    Anyone holding their breath in anticipation of seeing the purchase records?

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