Saturday, August 11, 2018

Museum of the Bible and Repatriation (GA 2120)

Yesterday, the Museum of the Bible (MOTB) posted a Facebook Live video featuring Brian Hyland, Associate Curator of Medieval Manuscripts. Hyland introduces GA 2120, a 12th-century minuscule of the Gospels. The Greens acquired the manuscript in 2010, and it was donated to the MOTB in 2014. Since then, it came to light that the manuscript was “lost” (=stolen) from the University of Athens. Representatives from the University of Athens contacted the MOTB about it, and the manuscript will be repatriated later this year in October.

Hyland gives an overview of the modern history of the manuscript back to Spyridon Lampros, who owned it before his daughter Lina Tsaldari gave it to the University of Athens in the 1960s. He includes some of the more recent history as well, including an estimate of when it was taken from the University of Athens (between 1987 and 1991), when it resurfaced at Sotheby’s (3 December 1998), and evidence of the identity of one of its modern owners.

It’s really great to see the MOTB doing the right thing here. They realised that they have an item that was taken illegally from its former owner, and they are making it right as well as they can in the situation.


  1. The scholar he refers to at the beginning is myself. I actually identified the MS as 2120 with the help of Maurice Robinson, sent him images of the pericope adulterae and he could confirm it was an already registered NT MS. Further, I corrected the erroneous attribution to Hagiopetrites and the dating by further research and consultation. I am very happy that the MOTB is now returning the MS to Athens again (where incidentally I am writing this comment).

  2. I am so sorry that I neglected to mention your name in this Facebook Live presentation. You are mentioned on the timeline above the case, and I mentioned you in the talk that I gave at the museum before doing this video. Many thanks to you for the work you did relating to the manuscript!

    1. Thanks Brian, by the way, have you gotten my academic affiliation(s) right? It is not Örebro University but Örebro School of Theology and Ansgar Teologiske Høgskole. And, I did not post it to the Virtual Manuscript Room, but I wrote a full report to the INTF in Münster, where they in turn updated the Kurzgefasste Liste and the NT Virtual Manuscript Room (NT.VMR).

    2. We did make the correction on the timeline before the panel was installed, and changed the wording to reflect the process better. I was working with your notes in the object file, and in retrospect I should have just sent you an email. That would have avoided the last minute edits.

  3. Another article on this: