Thursday, May 14, 2020

Sabar on the missing-papyri scandal

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING: A Biblical Mystery at Oxford. A renowned scholar claimed that he discovered a first-century gospel fragment. Now he’s facing allegations of antiquities theft, cover-up, and fraud (Ariel Sabar, The Atlantic).

This is the definitive account of the missing-Oxyrhynchus-papyri scandal. It covers the still-inconclusive story up to the present, with detailed background. I think it has everything I already knew, plus a good bit I didn't. Background here and many links.

You should set aside some time and read the whole, long article. As before, I myself have no inside knowledge of the affair and no further comment.

Ariel Sabar is the son of UCLA Aramaist Yona Sabar. Ariel is known for his book My Father's Paradise, on his family's background in Aramaic-speaking Kurdish Iraq. See here and links. And he is still better known for his groundbreaking 2016 article on the Gospel of Jesus' Wife, also in The Atlantic. He has a book forthcoming on the latter.

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