Do You Know Where That Papyri Came From? Dr. Mazza on The Problem of Unknown Provenance

In the brief video below, Dr. Roberta Mazza addresses whether or not scholars should publish materials that don’t have reliable acquisition data, including papyri of apparent biblical texts. She raises important questions such as:

What do we mean through the term ‘provenance’? What kind of information scholars need to access when collections or collectors ask them to publish an ancient manuscript or piece of art? Should we be guided by the law or ethic when making decisions? What should academics do in case they discover that a papyrus fragment or a Greek vase has a doubtful acquisition history? If we don’t publish, where such material will end up?

Dr. Mazza is lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Manchester, as well as a Research Fellow of the John Rylands Research Institute and honorary academic curator of the Graeco-Roman Egypt collection of the Manchester Museum. She blogs at Faces and Voices.

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