Monday, 2 February 2015

More Questions on the Origins of the Green Papyri

What is the place of an NDA in scholarly research?
Roberta Mazza ('Mark fragment? Well, they look like Green papyri…', February 2, 2015) points out the significance of a 'Peel media productions' YouTube video which has been online since 19 May 2014.
And here we go: we seem to have the final proof that the slides shown by Josh McDowell and used also by Craig Evans in his recent exploit come from a performance that Scott Carroll gave at Baylor University in January 2012. Indiana Scott Carroll was helped by students and scholars of the Green Scholars Initiative, and Josh McDowell was present too.
So all of these threads are coming together. The mummy mask shown in the video is seemingly early Roman (unlike the Ptolemaic ones being shown by Craig Evans and others as the source of the papyri), in the video Carroll, evidently still then at Baylor, talks of "intelligently buying up" such items specifically to dissolve. But what is their collecting history? Where have they come from? I think these questions certainly need answering as the period when the Green Scholars Initiative was "buying them up" corresponds to the period when all over Egypt after 28th January 2011, archaeological stores were being broken into and stored material - including from tombs - was being robbed and disappearing. Much of this material still has not been recovered, some of it was presumably bought no-questions-asked by foreign collectors. What documentation of licit origins and legal export does the Green Collection have for the cartonnage fragments and papyri that were acquired in 2011 and 2012 - precisely in this period? As Mazza says:
I believe it is time for the Green collection to tell us from where the mask comes from, which texts were retrieved, how decisions were taken and to give full account of the method employed.
I really do not see the need for any kind of secrecy here about how the material was acquired, and the details of what was done to these objects. This strengthens, not weakens, the integrity of the scholarly work currently being undertaken on the reading and publication of the scraps of text themselves. All this secrecy and smoke and mirrors is causing an undermining of the position of the commissioned scholars bound by the Green Collection's non-disclosure agreements.


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