Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Oxyrhynchus Papyri

The article from Biblical Archaeological Review is on the discovery of papyri at the beginning of the last century near the Upper Egyptian village of el-Behnesa. Two Oxford scholars named Bernard Pyne Grenfell and Arthur Surridge Hunt were searching the rubbish dumps which lay around the ancient remains of the city of Oxyrhynchus when large quantities of papyrus scraps and full documents began to come to light.

Many of the documents were receipts and known literature's but some contained unknown passages of Jesus and the scriptures. Through the course of five seasons the archaeologists would retrieve a half a million documents including lost works from the writers of the classic world such as Sappho, Homer, Plato and a lost comedy by Sophocles and more.

Generations later the Oxyrhynchus papyri collection is still being studied in Oxford and in Cairo.

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