Today I learned of the Green Collection, a large private collection of manuscripts and papyri. It is owned by the Green family of Oklahoma, who are (a) billionaires and (b) Christians. In consequence they have been collecting material of wide interest.
Brill have announced a new series of publications for the papyri:
The new series fits well among Brill’s strong portfolio of Classical Studies and Biblical and Religious Studies publications, as well as its extensive list of digitized primary source manuscript collections. Comprising of one to two new volumes per year, the new series will publish approximately 20 papyri with a thorough description, commentary with images, and web-based support for further resources.
The first forthcoming volume in the series, planned to be released in early 2013, is dedicated to an early 3c BCE papyrus containing an extensive, undocumented work by Aristotle on reason, and is currently being analyzed by a research group at Oxford University.
The Green Collection contains over 50,000 items, and now holds nearly 15,000 papyri acquired from private collections in Europe, and continues to grow. The collection is approximately 70% Greek, 15% Coptic and 15% late Egyptian. The collection is currently unpublished and contains items of extraordinary importance, including some of the earliest Greek literary texts known, dating to the early 3c BCE. A major building near Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. was purchased in July 2012 to house an international museum for these items.
They are also working with scholars at Tyndale House in Cambridge:
The Green Collection has announced that the Codex Climaci Rescriptus – containing the earliest-known texts of Scripture in something close to Jesus’ household language – will return to the University of Cambridge in collaboration with the collection’s international research arm, the Green Scholars Initiative.
Top manuscript scholars from Cambridge’s Tyndale House will conduct intensive, high-tech research on the codex’s 137 reused vellum leaves, which feature overlapping layers of text. Recent technological breakthroughs developed by Green Scholars at the University of Oxford allow once unreadable, underlying text from the codex to be “lifted” to the surface for enhanced study through a process known as “multi-spectral imaging.”
In selecting Cambridge as the official research home of the Codex Climaci Rescriptus, Green Scholars Initiative Director Dr. Jerry Pattengale said, “Tyndale House is a perfect fit for this project given both its excellent scholars and its reputation in biblical studies. We are pleased with the strength of their ancient languages, from Aramaic, Syriac and Hebrew to Greek and Coptic – and, just as important, their passionate interest in biblical studies.”
They have launched the Green Scholars Initiative:
The Green Scholars Initiative is an international research project involving dozens of institutions under the auspices of The Green Collection, the world’s newest and largest private collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts.
Through thousands of cuneiform texts and papyri, Dead Sea Scrolls and Coptic texts to Gutenberg, Wycliff, Tyndale, Thomas à Kempis, Erasmus, King James and a litany of Reformation and post-Reformation original texts, the Green Scholars Initiative brings established and young scholars together to pioneer groundbreaking biblical discoveries
There will be a new museum in Washington:
A sampling of the Bible museum’s offerings — from the collection of more than 40,000 artifacts — have been displayed in the Passages Exhibit at the Vatican and in Oklahoma City and Atlanta and will soon appear in Charlotte, N.C.
All this is very encouraging for papyrus and manuscript studies: a family with the resources to collect and publish materials, and the desire to do so. And for once it is being done from a Christian perspective too. Well done!