Thursday, April 24, 2014

The collecting history of PDodg

I am grateful to Paul Barford for drawing my attention to further discussion of the collecting history of PDodg. otherwise known as "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife". Last September I noted the reports that the papyrus had surfaced in "... the early 1980s indicating that Professor Gerhard Fecht from the faculty of Egyptology at the Free University in Berlin believed it to be evidence for a possible marriage of Jesus".

Owen Jarus has done a little more background work ("'Gospel of Jesus's Wife': Doubts Raised About Ancient Text", Live Science, April 22, 2014). This draws attention to the collecting history: "it was purchased, along with five other Coptic papyrus fragments, from a man named Hans-Ulrich Laukamp in November 1999 and that Laukamp had obtained it in 1963 from Potsdam in then-East Germany". It is now suggested that Laukamp did not collect antiquities, and that as a resident of (partitioned) West Berlin in 1963 he would not have been in a position to visit Potsdam.

The papyrus has been prepared for publication in HTR by Professor Karen King, the Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard. (Incidentally, the title of her chair reflects the benefaction of the republican Thomas Hollis whose collection passed into the hands of the Reverend John Disney, and was donated to the University of Cambridge by his son Dr John Disney as the Museum Disneianum.) King provides the details of the collecting history though it is not clear that the supporting documentation has been authenticated.

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