Friday, September 30, 2016

New Article by Roberta Mazza on P39 (among other things)

Roberta Mazza, ‘Papyri, Ethics, and Economics: A Biography of P.Oxy. 15.1780 (P 39)’, Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologysts, 52 (2015), 113-142.

Abstract: Discussion of the retrieval, distribution, and sale of P.Oxy. 15.1780, a fragment of the Gospel of John (𝔓39), currently in the Green Collection, and the ethical issues involved. An appendix publishes early correspondence about the acquisition of the Rylands papyri.

PMH: This is an interesting article which traces the history (a.k.a. cultural biography) of P39 within the wider context of movements of money and manuscripts in recent years. If you’ve lived through it, this account will refresh your memory; if you haven’t, then you’ll probably find it an interesting and informative read. Our blog plays a (small) part in the story, as does the Green Collection / Museum of the Bible (the current owners of P39). 

The ethical dimension could be brought right up to date by comparison with the (new) SBL Policy on Scholarly Presentation and Publication of Ancient Artifacts.


  1. That's an impressive article. A very minor note: I had forgotten the slight papyrus-shade coincidence of Gallery (or Galerie) Nefer in Zurich (as in note 91, rather than Geneva as in note 35?) and Nefer Art in Florida.

  2. On possible forgeries among "Dead Sea Scroll" fragments sold post-2002:

    Eibert Tigchelaar:

    Kipp Davis:

    Owen Jarus:

  3. More on proposed fakes: