A professor of Oxford has been accused of stealing oldest Bible fragments and selling them to the Green Family, owners of Hobby Lobby. The professor named Dirk Obbink works at Oxford University and is considered one of the best professors in the world for classics. The university had an inquiry on him for three months after which they opened up about the results of it. Oxford has accused the professor of stealing and selling around 11 Bible fragments to the Hobby Lobby owners who run a Bible museum in Washington.
The Egypt Exploration Society gave a statement on the matter saying that museum revealed to it that the acclaimed professor sold the 11 fragments to the Museum of Bible in the year 2010 in two parts. Earlier, there were claims that Obbink sold a fragment of the first chapter of the gospel of Mark to Hobby Lobby but he denied any such claims while speaking to foreign media in the year 2018. The EES said that after the claims, the professor was removed as the general editor of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri project. The society then said that in June this year, he was banned from any access to its collection since his clarification of sale of another fragment in 2013 is pending. The EES also said that Oxford University is inquiring the case along with it on how the fragments were taken off the campus and allegedly sold to the Green family. The texts were taken away without any authorisation from the society and their catalogue card along with photographs are missing too.
The Bible museum spokesperson reacted to the controversy on October 15, with a statement to a news agency saying that the items they received were sold by a known perfect from the noted university. They further added that they acquired these texts from their source between 2010-2013. A day before on October 14, they said that they will return the fragments to the EES who has plans to store them again on the Oxford University premises. The current controversy is not the first one to come in the way of the Green Family who run the Bible museum.
(With inputs from agencies)