Thursday, January 08, 2015

Here and there


Brice Jones has found a papyrus fragment of John for sale on ebay - see here (it all looks plausible to me). [not for sale anymore - withdrawn from the auction]

Winchester Cathedral is trying to recover illuminations stolen from the twelfth-century Winchester Bible.

The British Library has published a list of the 1220 manuscripts with new digital images in A New Giant List. Meanwhile the British Library is now allowing personal digital photography of items in the collection (applauded by Roger Pearse).

Among the top selling books and manuscripts at auction in 2014 were a number of biblical related manuscripts, including the editio princeps of the Hebrew Torah printed on vellum ($3,871,845)

Duke University is returning a tenth-century Greek manuscript to Greece (not sure what it is a manuscript of, doesn’t look like a NT, but I could be wrong).

Meanwhile some responses to the ill-informed on-line article about the Bible at “Newsweek” can be found from Mike Kruger (two parts, with comments from the author of the article); Ben Witherington; Darrell Bock (two parts); Pete Enns; Dan Wallace [up-dated here] (I’m not sure how this online “Newsweek” relates to the respected old print magazine, the ownership looks murky). 


  1. For more on the ms that Duke Library returned, see:

  2. Thanks Stephen, that is helpful:

    Durham, NC - Duke University has returned an 11th century Byzantine manuscript to the Holy Monastery of Dionysiou on Mount Athos in Greece.

    The university purchased the manuscript in 2011 from a well-known antiquarian bookseller. But Greek officials approached Duke earlier this year with evidence that the manuscript had previously been stolen from the Greek monastery, in the 1960s.

    Duke officials did not know about the theft when they bought the manuscript.

    “As a cultural institution, it’s important to make sure that culture and heritage is maintained and preserved,” said Andy Armacost, curator of collections and head of the collection development department with Duke’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. “We had no indication when we purchased the manuscript that it had been stolen, and we’re happy to make things right.”

    Called a menologion, the manuscript is a hand-written series of biographies of saints celebrated by the Greek Orthodox Church in September. (It is believed to be the first volume of a larger set; September is the first month of the year under the Greek Orthodox calendar.)

    Written on parchment and stretching to more than 500 pages, it has been one of more than 100 Medieval Greek liturgical manuscripts in Duke’s Kenneth Clark Collection.

    Much of the manuscript’s 21st century history was publicly known when Duke bought it three years ago. Noted Norwegian collector Martin Schoyen owned it previously. Prior to that, in 1988, it was sold publicly by Sotheby’s, the auction house.

    Duke officials gave the manuscript today (Jan. 5) to U.S. government officials, who plan to turn it over to Greek authorities. A digital version of the manuscript remains in Duke's online collection here.

  3. The papyrus on ebay does not seem to be a continuous Gospel.
    The verso is not from John.
    Perhaps a sermon or commentary ...

  4. thanks Wieland, I didn't know there was an image of the other side. So well done. for more details. The writing is up-side down too in relation to the John side.

  5. The label is clearly deficient; Brice's transcription runs into John 2:1. But at 33 whole letters, wouldn't this qualify as the smallest (in terms of character count) NT papyrus identified to date?

  6. Peter: "The writing is up-side down too in relation to the John side."
    Oops, I completely overlooked this!
    How strange ...

  7. Daniel: I would think that P113 has the least letters. This one may not be a NT papyrus - depending on what we make of the relationship between front and back (not to mention genuiness etc.).

  8. IIRC, I saw that manuscript at Duke when I was there. It is not an NT manuscript, and it was exquisite.

  9. >Duke University is returning a tenth-century Greek manuscript to Greece (not sure what it is a manuscript of, doesn't look like a NT, but I could be wrong).

    There is some disconnect here:

    The photograph in the news story shows a page open to the beginning of Matthew (1:1-14a) at some distance into the volume. This makes it appear to be a gospel-text menologion, with that particular reading designated for the Sunday before Christmas.

    However, the Duke Today comment linking to the description of the MS ("A digital version of the manuscript remains in Duke's online collection here") shows that the MS contains only the lives and martydoms of saints for September.

    So unless I am missing something, apparently the photo in the news story is not that of the MS actually being returned....

    1. The manuscript in the image that you linked is Matthew 1, but not the MS being returned by Duke. Some news reports have used the wrong image as they evidently mixed this news report with the story of the Getty returning G-A 927 to Greece back in April. The image is 927 (formerly known as 2618), not the Duke ms being returned. The Duke ms is linked in the article in Duke Today. Hope this is helpful.