Author Archives: Brent Nongbri

The Dead Sea Scrolls of New Jersey

It is well known that a few of the best preserved Dead Sea Scrolls spent some time in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s.  The Syrian Archbishop Mar Athanasius Yeshue Samuel brought four scrolls to the US in … Continue reading

Posted in Antiquities Market, Archaeological context, Dead Sea Scrolls | 3 Comments

Dead Sea Scrolls at the Vatican

A visit to the Vatican Museums almost always yields something new. You can never know which rooms will be open, so occasionally there is the pleasant surprise of getting to see material that is usually hidden away. There are also … Continue reading

Posted in Antiquities Dealers and Collectors, Antiquities Market, Archaeological context, Dead Sea Scrolls | 7 Comments

The Fate of the Van Kampen Collection

I’ve written before on a few occasions about the Van Kampen Collection of ancient manuscripts, a kind of predecessor of the Green Collection. In fact, it was Scott Carroll, the main architect of the Green Collection, who was also the … Continue reading

Posted in Antiquities Dealers and Collectors, Antiquities Market, Scott Carroll, Van Kampen Collection | Leave a comment

Stands for Holding Open Papyrus Rolls?

In discussions of the early codex, one often finds statements about the obvious technological superiority of the book with pages over the roll. Sometimes these claims will push further and say that rolls were not only relatively less easy to … Continue reading

Posted in Voluminology | 4 Comments

More Papyrus Roll Vocabulary: frons, cornua, umbilicus

In an earlier post, I raised some questions about the description of papyrus rolls. This generated some very helpful discussion in the comments. I now want to look at some of the ancient terminology for rolls. A good place to … Continue reading

Posted in Martial, Voluminology | 9 Comments

Buying Books in Rome circa 86 CE

The surviving writings of the satirical poet Martial provide a number of insights into Roman book culture. He has been an especially important figure in discussions of the history of the codex, as he mentions on multiple occasions portable parchment … Continue reading

Posted in Book Trade in Antiquity, Martial | 6 Comments

The Vocabulary of Reading a Papyrus Roll

When I was writing an earlier post that mentioned papyrus rolls, I realized that it was difficult to describe certain physical aspects of rolls. Here is what I wrote: “Normally when a papyrus roll was rolled up, the text was … Continue reading

Posted in Voluminology | 24 Comments

A New Project: The Early History of the Codex

A busy semester is now winding down, and I’m happy to announce that in August, I’ll be kicking off a new, five-year project: The Early History of the Codex: A New Methodology and Ethics for Manuscript Studies (EthiCodex) based here … Continue reading

Posted in Codices, Codicology, Radiocarbon analysis | 9 Comments

Hobby Lobby Inc. vs Dirk Obbink

A couple days ago, the news broke that Hobby Lobby has sued Professor Dirk Obbink for over $7 million USD. The 10-page complaint (which can be seen here) does not paint a nice picture of Prof. Obbink, but that’s generally … Continue reading

Posted in Antiquities Market, Dirk Obbink, Green Collection, Green Collection Romans, Oxyrhynchus Papyri | 10 Comments

The Eusebian Apparatus in Codex Sinaiticus

The Eusebian apparatus for the gospels has been getting some much deserved attention in the last few years. This remarkable system for navigating the parallel material in the gospels has formed the topic of a very useful monograph by Matthew … Continue reading

Posted in Codex Sinaiticus, Codicology | 1 Comment