Tuesday, March 03, 2009

P. Oxy. 1353 = 0206 (1 Pet 5:5-13) for Sale!

Today this announcement was made on the PAPY list by James S. Hollander:

It was kindly suggested [by a] fellow papyroligist that we use PAPY to inform the papyrologist community of a unique papyrus collection that we are helping to market and sell for a US seminary. Its Board of Trustees is exploring the sale of its papyrus collection, most of which (8 of 9) are from the well documented Oxyrhynchus excavation. The most interesting piece is a Fourth Century fragment of I Peter 5:6-12. It is written in a hand closely resembling that of the famed Codex Sinaiticus. I am assisting the board by contacting prospective interested parties and have prepared overview of the collection which you can be secured at the following link:


In the coming weeks, we plan to email Offer Letter Instructions to those who might want to submit an offer to purchase this collection. We expect the collection to sell in a $ range of low-to-mid six figures. There is a possibility the fragments will sell separately, but we believe the collection will be worth more together. If you or an organization you are affiliated with would like the Offer Letter Instructions when we issue them, please e-mail me.

James S. Hollander

Managing Director

Corporate Development Associates, Inc.

5335 Far Hills Ave. Ste. 304

Dayton, OH 45429

937.439.4227-Office 937.439.5593-Fax
Email: jimhollander[at]cda-inc[dot]net

Website: www.CDA-Inc.net


  1. The texts offered are: P. Oxy. 1353 (1 Peter 5:6-12); P. Oxy. 1459 (Return of Unwanted Land); P. Oxy. 1678 (Letter, Theon to Mother); P. Oxy. 1688 (Extension of Lease); P. Oxy. 1728 (Account of Receipts and Expenditures); P. Oxy. 1756 (Letter, Sarapion to Father); P. Oxy. 1775 (Letter, Plutarchus to Theoninus); P. Oxy. 1779 (Psalm 1:1-3).
    All of these were given the the EES for free and are now to be sold to the highest bidder.

  2. I believe that P Oxy 406 (citing Isa 6:10) is also in the collection at Dayton, Ohio, and I was surprised not to find it among the documents offered in this sale. s it still housed there? Peter Rodgers

  3. Peter I'm very keen to hear your thoughts on the ethics of this. Selling these manuscripts when they were donated? Why not just donate them to Cambridge or Harvard or Duke (which has a fantastic collection and knows how to handle such things)?

  4. On the legal ethics in general the precedent has already been set by the sale of a similar collection a couple of years back. From the seminary's perspective it looks pretty obvious: many years ago you received these things in return for funding given to the EES; you don't have the expertise or controlled environment to study or even protect them; you could get a substantial amount of money from them (not astronomical, but in a good market say $200,000) - so you free yourself from the hassle and you get some funds for the library or the seminary to keep going. In this case it seems that they are not going to auction so perhaps the Board are taking somewhat seriously their responsibility to ensure, as far as they are able, a responsible purchaser. (Last time some Oxy Pap came up Macquarrie University bought some of them which was a good result.) From their perspective the best result would be that a Harvard might purchase them (this would be good for Harvard since they don't really have a substantial collection - of papyri that is!).

    I suppose the other ethical dimension here has to do with generosity. It seems to me that the EES were pretty generous in giving out papyri in the early years (Cambridge was 91 Oxy Pap in the UL) - presumably so that other institutions could have a hand in studying this material. One response would be simply to give them back if you don't want them anymore - I'm sure they'd happily receive them in Oxford.

    But I can see from the whole history of papyrology and manuscript studies generally that money and collectors and dodgy dealers and greed are one part of the story. So one doesn't want to be unrealistic - would the purist rather we did not have P45, P46, P47, P66, P72, P75? (All illegally excavated and sold on by dodgy dealers to greedy collectors).

  5. In answer to Peter Rodgers' question, according to the location list (http://www.papyrology.ox.ac.uk/POxy/lists/list3.html) 406 is at The Library, McCormick Theological Seminary, 800 West Beldn., Chicago, Ill., USA

  6. Peter, Thanks for the correction. I do hope the manuscripts go to the right place, where they can be preserved and studied. Selfishly, I'd love to see them at the Bancroft Library at U.C. Berkeley. Peter

  7. Ha! This ms is at United Theological Seminary in Dayton??? I made many visits there over a decade and had no clue!

    Maybe it is a good thing to sell it, since they never bothered to put it on display anywhere.

    The seminary recently moved to a new location a few miles away. Maybe the sale of the ms coincides with some serious self-reflection.

  8. Well, it was nice of them to let us know about this; in the PDF there are some fine, highly readable images.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  9. Gentlemen -

    I enjoyed reading all your postings on my PAPY listing. Frankly, I was surprised to find it here. Thank you for whoever corrected the words I left out. When I first started this project to help the seminary and spoke to a few people at universities with large collections I quickly realized what a sensitive subject this is. You can imagine the email I received from Mr. Bagnall.

    I have been a Christian for many years. I love those verses from 1 Peter and have memorized many of them. Since the documents are digitized, people can always read them. We must keep in mind Who is in control. God will find the right home for these fragments and if Seminary realizes some funds and continues to impact the world for His Kingdom, that’s ok. Ultimately, as you well know, everything is owned by Him. We are simply stewards.

    I will be issuing Offer Letter Instructions soon. It will be interesting to see how this turns out. However it does, I am confident it will be ok.

    Jim Hollander

  10. Thanks Jim. We all hope the manuscripts will find a good home.

  11. If you are interested in submitting an offer on the UTS Papyrus Collection you can secure Offer Letter Instrcutions as the following link:


  12. Just to note that these manuscripts are now in the Green Collection / Museum of the Bible. And according to the provenance notes they were initially purchased by Dirk Obbink before being sold to the Green Collection.

  13. https://www.museumofthebible.org/collections/artifacts/24095-letter-from-sarapion-to-his-father-dionysius-poxy-1756#/

  14. This is not directed to Peter Head in any way...just a few thoughts.

    I don't understand the witch hunt here. Many manuscripts held and owned by Museum's and Universities were acquired by ill gotten means (theft, war, trickery, etc.). Why hasn't the same amount of concern surrounded those manuscripts (and artifacts)? Obbink is a saint compared to Tischendorf in this regard. This very same Tischendorf who often would give no more information than, "found in a monastery of the east" or something to that effect is still revered, even hailed for his discoveries.

    Is this not an example of the pot calling the kettle black. Why is there such animosity from academia towards a privately owned collection? If Hobby Lobby was not owned by a professing Christian family this all would have came and gone by now.

    I don't see anyone making trouble for the Vacitan, Smithsonian or other powerful institutions which undoubtedly committed much "higher" crimes in both obtaining and suppressing mss.,artifacts and artwork.