Thursday, 21 May 2015

Two Officially Excavated Oxyrhynchus Papyri in Green Collection

Brice Jones, ' P.Oxy. 11.1351: From Oxyrhynchus to the Green Collection' 20th May 2015:
Pap 1351 was donated by the Egyptian Exploration Fund to a theological seminary, but in 2003 the latter sold it at Sotheby's in a larger lot of papyri. The ethical issues involved are still being debated 
This is a good example of how artifacts can "move" on the market. They leave a museum, exchange multiple hands, and sometimes they simply disappear. I suppose the good thing in this case is that the item is now in a public museum, which was the original condition of donation by the Egyptian Exploration Society (EES). Several questions remain, however. Who bought the item from Sotheby's? From whom did the Green Collection buy the fragment? Does the EES approve of the artifact's relocation? Should it, in fact, be returned to the EES? Will scholars be given access to the fragment for research purposes? And a related question: will the Green Collection ever deaccession any of its items, and if so, how will they do it? 
A Gospel of John fragment sold in the same sale P. Oxy 1780 is also now in the Green Collection.


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