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I met Dr. Dirk Obbink a few years ago at a conference for scholars at Baylor University. All the scholars were working on and seeking to identify texts written on papyri. Obbink is one of the world’s foremost authorities on papyri. He is often called upon to comment on ancient manuscripts. His name and reputation are well known in papyrological studies.
in 2010 Professor Obbink, according to the Museum of the Bible, sold eleven manuscripts (fragments) to Hobby Lobby Stores. Obbink was later “discharged” from his duties as general editor of the Oxyrhynchus papyri because of unsatisfactory performance and suspicions that he was seeking to sell ancient manuscripts. Obbink denied the charges but today no longer has access to these manuscripts. The investigation into his actions and the state of the missing manuscripts is going to continue.
Recently, a friend sent me a link to this video of Dan Wallace speaking at Acadia Divinity College on New Testament manuscripts. Dan is probably the best connected and most informed scholar on the state of NT manuscripts, in America at least. His organization continues to discover manuscripts (hand-written documents) which scholars did not know existed. There are over 2.5 million pages altogether of the known number of NT manuscripts, over 5800. This is a remarkable number of manuscripts still in existence given (a) that pagan emperors and governors did their best (during times of persecution) to discover and burn Gospels and letters and (b) the writing material and inks they used are organic, which means they were subject to decay. Dan’s organization, Center for Study of New Testament Manuscripts, is working feverishly to create digital images of these manuscripts before they degrade further. It is a great resource for scholars of Christian history.