After 120 ancient papyrus biblical fragments went missing from the Slacker Library at Oxford University, an investigation led to the arrest of the University’s Papyrology and Greek Literature professor, Dr. Dirk Obbink. The Slacker Library houses a vast collection of ancient Egyptian scriptures owned by the Egypt Exploration Society. Obbink was a trusted professor and had access to the collection.
According to the school’s student newspaper, The Oxford Blue, 13 of the 120 missing fragments were purchased by the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C and returned to the collection; along with 6 additional pieces which were found in the collection of Andrew Stimer. Obbink’s name was listed as the “seller” for both purchases.
In a report from the Guardian, Egyptian Exploration Society director, Dr. Carl Graves states: “These are early fragments of the gospels or biblical fragments. They are a testament to Egypt’s early Christian heritage and are early evidence of biblical scripture. We don’t value them monetarily, but they are priceless and irreplaceable.”
Obbink claims he has done no wrong, saying “The allegations made against me that I have stolen, removed or sold items owned by the Egypt Exploration Society collection at the University of Oxford are entirely false […] I would never betray the trust of my colleagues and the values which I have sought to protect and uphold throughout my academic career in the way that has been alleged. I am aware that there are documents being used against me which I believe have been fabricated in a malicious attempt to harm my reputation and career.”