Tuesday 25 June 2019

An Odd Document [UPDATED]

Christ Church 
The document(s) at the heart of the Dirk Obbink 'Biblical Brouhaha' (see here) are really quite odd if you look carefully at them.  The version in the internet has clearly been tampered with.

1) There are four pages in the internet form, the first three numbered (1-3) the fourth has no number. But page '1' has internally the information that it is 'page 2 of 4' (and the 'seller's initials' - but was not initialled by the buyer) and page 2 has no such information (but the seller's signature). Page '3', 'EXHIBIT (sic) A', has the information internally that it is 'page 4 of 4' and the same initials. So what did the original page 1/ and 3/4 look like and why are they not included as 'evidence'? The fourth page has no title, no page numbers of any kind and no caption to the photo of two nail-bitten fingers holding a scrap of folded and torn paper with the names of the Four Gospels and some chapter and verses, written in capitals and in pencil. What is this supposed to be? Why was part torn off before the photo was taken? Was this tattered scrap part of the original invoice, and if so, what purpose did it serve? In any case, if the invoice had four pages and the present page three is that fourth page, the photo on an unnumbered page.  Odd.

2) Pages '1' and '2' of the internet document have the heading 'Book, Art and Collectibles Purchase agreement' (note US spelling of collectables) and this document is dated internally ' 4 (note US usage again) Feb 2013' (and 'Christ Church' is written as one word)

Page three is just 'Exhibit A' (so is an appendix detached from another document - from what?) and refers to a 'purchase order 77' and 'invoice 017' - and where is that invoice ? There is also the date 12-2[?]-2012 (20th Dec? 2012). Presumably this refers to the date of issue of that invoice. Note that it is several weeks earlier than on the purchase agreement. The purchase agreement refers however to 'Exhibit A' in point two of the agreement.  The loose nail-bitten photo is undated.

3) There are carefully-drawn black rectangles blocking out the following information:
page '2', the signature of the representative (unnamed in the document) of Hobby Lobby and the date on which that signature was applied to the document - we have note the lack of initialling of this representative of the side.
on page '3' the name of the representative of Hobby Lobby is likewise redacted out (why, if the deal was considered legal?), the bank information of the seller and the total sum paid for six items. But less explicable, the first and last items in the list of 'Exhibit A'. Does this mean that there are two documents to which the conditions of the Purchase Agreement also apply?

4) On 'Exhibit A', we have the name and address of the dealer, "Oxford Ancient'" based in Clarendon House, Cornmarket Street, in the centre of Oxford. What is this firm? Who founded it and when, and is it still in existence? [update 25th June 2019, see Candida Moss on this now)

5) On 'page 1', the terms and conditions have been redacted. After the "for good and valuable consideration, the parties agree" bit, points 3-9 of that agreement have been replaced by a dotted line. This is probably why point ten (with four sub-points) is above the bit of the page that says that its on 'page 2 of 4' - points 3-9 were on the lower two thirds of the original page 1 and top half of page 2 of four. Someone has just cut the text up and remounted it and made a photocopy. Obviously we cannot make much sense of the tenth (and final) point, without seeing the second to ninth above it. The current page '2' now contains the original end of the document (which has the final sub-point of 10).

6) Point 10 of the agreement refers to the four year research period required to deal with 'the property' (presumably all six items mentioned in 'Exhibit A') which are to be published in the Brill 'Green Papyri Series' and the last point is puzzling, after that period is up and subject to the lack of extensions, the seller is to surrender to the buyer the 'property', but then it says '(if in the custody of Seller)' - which raises the question of where else it might be.

7) No mention is made of the responsibility of arranging an export licence to move the item after the study period from the UK (EU) to the USA.

Who was responsible for the redaction of this material before it was leaked? What was the purpose of leaking it? Was it a deliberate attempt to incriminate Dr Obbink?


Stephen Goranson said...

Yes, that the photo of penciled Gospel verses was not part of the contract.
Apparently, no, the fingers are not those of Dirk Obbink but of Jerry Pattengale, according to his article in Christianity Today:

Paul Barford said...

Yes, I spotted that. The piece of paper was carried in his wallet, he said (why?) and the nails are still bitten. I think there are a number of things Pattengale is avoiding saying - and (I suspect) obscuring. It is not clear why you'd do this if you are really "coming clean". The saga is by no means over.

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