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Oxford professor accused of selling Bible fragments to Museum of the Bible

by Cara Bentley

The Egypt Exploration Society owns the fragments from the Oxyrhynchus collection and has accused Dr Dirk Obbink of passing them on without permission.

Dr Dirk Obbink specialises in papyrus and Greek Literature. He is part of the Faculty of Classics at Christ Church College, Oxford, and was the head of the Oxyrhynchus papyri project.

The Egypt Exploration Society (EES) says it is aware of 13 fragments from their collection which are now in possession of the Museum of the Bible (MOTB), including extracts from Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Psalms, Romans and 1 Corinthians.

The Museum, which is owned by the Christian Green family who also own Hobby Lobby Stores, has agreed with the EES' claim and is planning to return the fragments.

The EES said in a statement on their website they were "grateful to the MOTB for its co-operation, and has agreed that the research on these texts by scholars under the auspices of the MOTB will receive appropriate recognition when the texts are published in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri series".

The museum confirmed that eleven of the 13 fragments were sold to them by Dr Dirk Obbink in 2010.

The University of Oxford is now also investigating the removal of the sources.

The Oxyrhynchus texts were found by two Victorian explorers in an Egyptian rubbish dump near Oxyrhynchus and include hundreds of secular and Christian documents.

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