Monday, June 14, 2021

Roman Writing Equipment


A. Willi, Manual of Everyday Roman Writing. Volume 2. Writing Equipment 

Here is a very useful little e-book with some nice illustrations. 



Saturday, June 12, 2021

ECM Mark and More on the Way


Here’s some happy news out of Muenster: “The ECM of Mark is currently being printed and will be available soon.” I think there is an SBL session on the Mark data. (That reminds me I need to register for SBL.) You can see the initial book listing here which gives July 26 as the release date. More from Muenster:

After the ECM of the Gospel of Mark appears in print, we’ll upload a list of textual changes and split guiding lines online. Like Acts, there will be an online textual commentary, a digital version on the NTVMR, the CBGM (with downloadable docker container), and the Patristic citations database.

We hope these resources will guide readers to better understand the data behind the editions and can provide a solid starting place for further research to take place. Now that a Docker container is available for Acts, anyone can now experiment with the CBGM, which may be the best way to learn how the method works firsthand.
Don’t miss that last sentence. The CBGM has a version you can edit yourself (albeit with some tech know-how). The “black box” is open for anyone with enough motivation to explore it.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Hobby Lobby Sues Obbink for $7m


Courthouse News Service reports today that Hobby Lobby is suing Dirk Obbink for $7 million for fraud and breach of contract. The complaint details seven private sale agreements between February 2010 and February 2013 for “fragments along with other ancient objects” for approximately $7,095,100. To date, the complaint says, 32 papyri have been identified as stolen from EES and sold directly to Hobby Lobby.

It also clarifies that Hobby Lobby came into possession of all the sale items except those in the seventh lot, purchased in February 2013 for $760,000. This last sale “contained four (4) papyrus pieces of New Testament Gospels identified as Matthew 3:7–10, 11–12; Mark 1:8–9, 16–18; Luke 13: 25–27, 28; and John 8:26–28, 33–35.” The second of those should look familiar as P.Oxy. 5345, aka “First-Century Mark.” So, we now know that Hobby Lobby did pay for these fragments. Scott Carroll’s infamous Tweet was in December of 2011 and Dan Wallace announced a first-century Mark fragment in February 2012—all before Hobby Lobby bought it. We know from Mike Holmes, that negotiations for its sale started in “early 2012.” 

The complaint goes on to tell us that “On or about December 2017, Obbink informed Hobby Lobby that he had ‘mistakenly’ sold the Gospel Fragments in Purchase #7 and that they were, in fact, owned by his employer, the EES.” The fragment was published not long after, in May of 2018. Surely Obbink had finished editing it for his employer well before then. He did refund Hobby Lobby $10k of the $760k while pleading for more time to pay the rest—which never came.

A number of questions arise from this new wrinkle. The complaint says that $760,000 was the cost of the four Gospel fragments in lot 7, but the entire lot contained that and “other antiquities,” all totaling $1.81m. It does not specify what those other antiquities are or whether Hobby Lobby initially asked for a refund for those as well. The complaint is also mum about the specifics of the other fragments and antiquities sold. 

A last point: if you split $760k four ways, that could mean that “First-Century Mark” sold for around $200k. That actually seems low to me, but what do I know.

It’s safe to say we have not heard the end of this sordid saga.

HT: Hixson

6/4/21 Update: Brent Nongbri has blogged about this here. He’s followed this closer than anybody so read the whole thing. This bit in particular jumped out: “Remember that between the Museum of the Bible and the American collector Andrew Stimer, who is said to have bought 6 stolen EES fragments from a business partner of Prof. Obbink, a total of 40 pieces have been returned to the EES. Now, the EES has said that 120 papyri are missing from its collection. That means 80 Oxyrhynchus papyri remain missing.”