The Egypt Exploration Society Statement on Alleged Sales of Papyri to Hobby Lobby

The Egypt Exploration Society has issued a statement on the alleged sale of Oxyrhynchus papyri: Professor Obbink and sales of papyri to Hobby Lobby.

I recommend everyone read the full statement at the link above. I note that the statement does not positively affirm one of the central claims in the letter sent by Mike Holmes, namely that the documents supplied with the letter– 1) the redacted copy of the purchase agreement between Prof. Dirk Obbink and Hobby Lobby for four gospel fragments and 2) the photo of a list specifying the contents of four gospel fragments that match the contents of items in the Oxyrhynchus collection–“together document the fact of the sale and the identity of the items sold.”

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Posted in Antiquities Dealers and Collectors, Dirk Obbink, First Century Mark, Green Collection, Oxyrhynchus Papyri | 12 Comments

The EES and the Oxyrhynchus Papyri “Card” System

One of the issues emerging from the letter and documents released by Mike Holmes regarding the sale of Oxyrhynchus manuscripts has to do with the “card catalog” system for organizing the unpublished Oxyrhynchus papyri, which was mentioned in the statement by the Egypt Exploration Society last year. As a refresher, here is what the statement said:

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Posted in Antiquities Dealers and Collectors, Dirk Obbink, Oxyrhynchus Papyri | 20 Comments

Dirk Obbink and the Oxyrhynchus “Distribution” Papyri

There is an interesting twist with the developing story of the alleged attempt by Dirk Obbink to sell Oxyrhynchus papyri owned by the Egypt Exploration Society. It appears that he had some prior experience selling Oxyrhynchus papyri that he did in fact own. This can be a little confusing for the uninitiated. So, let me stress at the outset that the material released by Mike Holmes and the Museum of the Bible yesterday deals with manuscripts that are the property of the Egypt Exploration Society. What I am about to discuss is something different.

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Posted in Antiquities Dealers and Collectors, Antiquities Market, Dirk Obbink, Green Collection, Oxyrhynchus Papyri | 24 Comments

Revisiting Some of Scott Carroll Comments in Light of the “First Century” Mark Purchase Agreement

Carroll Atlanta Passages Tov IntroMy last post looked into a couple questions raised by the recently released purchase agreement between Hobby Lobby and Dirk Obbink regarding so-called “First Century” Mark. In this post, I want to explore how these new revelations might demystify some previously cryptic statements by Scott Carroll, both during the time he was associated with the Green Collection and after they parted ways. In the “Passages Speakers Series” of videos, Scott Carroll frequently introduced the sessions in 2011 and 2012. Continue reading

Posted in Antiquities Dealers and Collectors, Antiquities Market, Dirk Obbink, First Century Mark, Green Collection, Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Scott Carroll | 17 Comments

The “First Century” Mark Purchase Agreement: Some Initial Questions

The letter and documents provided by Mike Holmes in my previous post appear to provide confirmation of what many have suspected since the publication of P.Oxy. 83.5345, the so-called “First Century” Mark fragment: This papyrus and other Christian manuscripts in the Oxyrhynchus collection were offered for sale by one of the (now former) curators of the Oxyrhynchus collection, Oxford professor Dirk Obbink.

It has long been known that, especially in the early days of the building of the Green Collection and conceiving of the Museum of the Bible, Dirk Obbink was an important part of the undertaking.

Scott Carroll, Dirk Obbink, and Jerry Pattengale, circa 2011; image source: Jerry Pattengale’s introduction for Dirk Obbink in Vol. 1 of the Passages Speaker Series.

But until now, the main piece of evidence linking Professor Obbink with the attempted sale of an Oxyrhynchus manuscript was the statement of Scott Carroll in a thread of blog comments shortly after the publication.

Some further digging through Scott Carroll’s online videos turned up an additional statement by Carroll that Oxford University was the source of at least some of the mummy masks that Carroll had purchased.

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Posted in Antiquities Dealers and Collectors, Antiquities Market, First Century Mark, Green Collection, Mummies, Mummy cartonnage, Oxyrhynchus Papyri | 30 Comments

“First Century” Mark, Dirk Obbink, and Hobby Lobby

I am pasting below an e-mail I and several other people received this afternoon from Mike Holmes regarding P.Oxy. 5345, the so-called First Century Mark and other Oxyrhynchus fragments allegedly sold by Dirk Obbink:

[Update: For some initial reactions, see my questions here and Elijah Hixson’s here.]

“Dear Bart, Roberta, Brent, Jill, and Elijah,

I am sending you this note because (1) we are all members of the SBL panel scheduled to discuss P.Oxy. 5345, otherwise known as “1st c. Mark” (FCM), at the SBL Annual Meeting in November, and (2) earlier this year I acquired some additional information regarding this document—information that I feel obligated to communicate to you, in your capacity as fellow panelists.

You will recall that in the aftermath of the publication of P.Oxy. 5345 in mid-2018, one of the lingering questions centered around the role of the Green Collection (owned by Hobby Lobby Stores) in the matter. Given that the Egyptian Exploration Society (EES) repeatedly (and rightly) affirmed that the fragment has never been for sale, why did representatives of the Green Collection seem to think that the Collection had acquired the fragment?

The answer is relatively straightforward: Prof. Dirk Obbink sold it and three other allegedly early Gospel fragments to the Green Collection, the result of negotiations that began in early 2012 and continued into early 2013, when a purchase agreement was executed. Continue reading

Posted in Antiquities Dealers and Collectors, Antiquities Market, First Century Mark, Green Collection, Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Scott Carroll | 31 Comments

Another Part of Scott Carroll’s Manuscript Network

A couple days ago, Roberta Mazza pointed out that Scott Carroll and Josh McDowell have been active recently in Russia. Thanks once again to the sharp eye of David Bradnick, another piece of Scott Carroll’s network of manuscript dealers is beginning to come to light. David notes the image below, which comes from a video describing Scott Carroll’s exhibition in St. Petersburg, Russia:

The manuscript on the right is a facsimile of a fragment of 2 Kings in Coptic on parchment. It is pretty clearly meant to represent the manuscript that Carroll was displaying back in 2016:

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Posted in Antiquities Dealers and Collectors, Antiquities Market, Scott Carroll | 9 Comments