Oxford University is probing claims that one among its lecturers bought historical fragments of the Bible from a charity’s archive to a US employer.
Classics professor Dirk Obbink has been accused with the aid of the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) of selling 11 portions from its Oxyrhynchus Collection.
The objects – held at the college’s Sackler Library – ended up on the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC.
Prof Obbink, who has been contacted for remark, remains at the university.
The historic Greek texts written on fragments of papyrus had been at first observed at some stage in the early twentieth century inside the Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus.
In an announcement on its website, the EES says the museum has advised it that the fragments have been offered by means of the lecturer in papyrology.
The charity stated: “The MOTB [Museum of the Bible] has informed the EES that eleven of these portions came into its care after being sold to Hobby Lobby stores through Prof Obbink, maximum of them in two batches in 2010.”
It introduced it had now not reappointed the professor as wellknown editor of the gathering in 2016 due to “issues which he did now not allay” over his alleged involvement in the advertising of ancient texts.
The EES stated it additionally banned him from getting entry to to the gathering in June this 12 months “pending rationalization”, after a 2013 agreement reportedly for the sale of 4 texts from him to Hobby Lobby Stores – an arts and crafts employer – become made public by means of an education at an Australian university.
The MOTB has agreed to set up for 13 pieces to be again to the EES.
In an announcement, the museum said Hobby Lobby had acquired the objects in precise faith among 2010 and 2013 from an “acknowledged professional from Oxford University”, and that it’d preserve to assist the EES in “getting better other gadgets that could have removed”.
Hobby Lobby declined to comment.
In 2017 Hobby Lobby was pressured to forfeit hundreds of smuggled artifacts it had offered for the MOTB. The agency stated on the time it “did now not absolutely recognize the complexities of the manner of the acquisition” and that it had relied on sellers’ information.
Hobby Lobby’s president Steve Green additionally serves because of the chairman of the museum, which opened in 2017, and changed into at the back of its founding.
An Oxford University spokesman said: “We can verify we’re engaging with the Egypt Exploration Society with regard to the allegations regarding papyri from the Oxyrhynchus collection.