Ancient Greek papyrus discovered on eBay

23 November 2015
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A rare, 2,000-year-old New Testament manuscript has been discovered on eBay by Geoffrey Smith, a scholar of early Christianity at the University of Texas, and the starting bid for the manuscript was at just $99.

“I thought, ‘This can’t be allowed to sell on eBay. It will just disappear into a private collection.”, Mr. Smith said.

The ancient Greek papyrus reportedly dates to between A.D. 250 and A.D. 350 and is from the Gospel of John, as New York Times reports.

It appears to include six lines of text written in Greek from John 1:50-51 on one side – with an unidentified Christian text on its other side.

The small papyrus fragment is currently not cataloged in the official list of New Testament manuscripts, according to papyrus expert Brice C Jones.

Mr. Smith told New York Times that he reached out to the seller and asked him to stop the auction so that he could study the fragment and the seller agreed.

Mr. Smith believes the fragment is the only known Greek New Testament papyrus that appears on an unused scroll rather than a codex.

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