I was recently asked to contribute an article on the "first-century" Mark fragment (P.Oxy. 83.5345) in the journal Early Christianity. Toward the end of that published piece, I wrote:
"There is one important question that remains unanswered regarding this papyrus. Despite the EES’s statement to the contrary, why have multiple people, including Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby and the Green Collection’s benefactor, admitted that the Oxyrhynchus Mark papyrus was for sale at some point?"
It is now fairly evident that “first century” Mark was offered for sale. Please see the THIS blog post by my colleague, Brent Nongbri, who relays breaking e-mail correspondence from Mike Holmes.
Essentially, if the allegation in the e-mail is true, it indicates that an Oxford professor (Dirk Obbink) intentionally tried to sell papyri belonging to the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) to the Green Collection.
This is not to be taken lightly. I am very curious to see what actions the EES will take here. It seems altogether criminal, in my opinion. This is a sad state of affairs indeed, but a conclusion (if proven true) that many have already drawn.
This news is part of a much larger web of conversation and debate around the manuscript acquisitions of the Green Collection, which I have posted about here, here, here, and here.
It's been a while since I've posted and so I thought I would include a few updates (=personal plugs) here. Back in the fall, I accepted an invitation to submit an article for a special issue of Early Christianity, whose theme is "Oxyrhynchus." I wrote a brief overview of P137, widely known as the "first century" Gospel of Mark....that is not from the first century! So many things could be said about this little fragment but I only scratch the surface in a few pages. It is forthcoming in the first issue of vol. 10 of the journal.
Last but not least, I am very happy to announce that my book on amulets has just appeared in paperback; I received my first copies today from the press (Bloomsbury). There are three differences from the hardback published in 2016: 1) a few corrections were made, 2) the images of papyri are converted to black and white, and 3) it's about $100 cheaper! So, now is the time to go BUY ONE...HERE.
I had several kind invitations to submit my manuscript to other publishers, but I am very happy with my decision to have my work published in the prestigious Library of New Testament Studies series. The book has been reviewed many times already in the field, and the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. The book has been cited in several books and articles; I'm just glad that people are reading it and finding something to take away from it. If nothing else, get it for the pretty pictures of papyri, which pop in color in the hardback version.
(Please excuse the self-blurbing in this post!)
[A guest post from Dr. George Kiraz]
Did you know that Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute has been instrumental in bringing Syriac to the forefront of academic research for more than 25 years? Since 1992, the Institute has provided free online resources to the heirs of the Syriac heritage and to Syriac scholars worldwide. Most importantly, YOU can play a part!
On this Giving Tuesday, we hope you will join the Bnay Beth Mardutho membership and take an active role in achieving our mission. We are deeply grateful for your patronage—our recent achievements would not have been possible without you! (Join here in just 5 minutes!)
The past few years have seen a tremendous increase in activity at Beth Mardutho! This past summer, we awarded five Fellowships in the Digital Humanities to rising Syriac scholars who greatly increased our free online offerings. Thanks to our fellows' and interns' work, we completed:
1. An online encyclopedia of the Syriac heritage
2. A curated portal of Syriac dictionaries
3. More than 2,000 digitized books in partnership with Internet Archive and Princeton Theological Seminary
4. A new, searchable platform for our open-source, peer-reviewed journal Hugoye (now in its 21st year!)
5. An easily-searchable library catalog for our world-class research library at Beth Mardutho
Our new annual Fellowship program brings graduate students, recent graduates, and Shamoshe from the heritage communities to keep building on these achievements and producing more Syriac resources.
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While much of this work is done by volunteers directed by Malphono Dr. George A. Kiraz (himself also a volunteer), the Institute has administrative expenses like rent, utilities, and internet which are covered by Bnay Beth Mardutho members like yourself. We hope you will consider becoming a member to play a part in making cutting-edge Syriac research available to all. Join here in just 5 minutes!
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It is with excitement that I can now announce that I am under contract with the University of Michigan Press to publish a volume in the Michigan Papyri series (=P.Mich.) tentatively titled Christian Papyri in the Michigan Collection. This will be the first P.Mich. volume devoted solely to Christian papyri. The series is edited by Prof. Arthur Verhoogt and Dr. Brendan Haug.
As many of my readers know, I have worked on/published several papyri in the Michigan Papyrology Collection and have grown fond of the collection's staff, its history, and all the interesting artifacts within it. I look forward to taking on the task of editing a new batch of Christian papyri.
If you have not read Prof. Verhoogt's history of the Michigan Papyrology Collection, please be sure to buy his book, Discarded, Discovered, Collected: The University of Michigan Papyrus Collection.