Apparently it’s more difficult to acquire ancient biblical artifacts from the middle east than it is worthless junk from China.
The Green family – the holy rolling owners of Hobby Lobby – are once again in the news, after they were once again busted buying stolen shit for their massive Washington D.C. bible museum.
Via The Daily Beast:
In June The Daily Beast reported on the possibility that an illustrious award-winning professor at the University of Oxford had sold an ancient fragment of the Gospel of Mark that did not belong to him to crafting giant Hobby Lobby, Inc.
At the time of purchase the Green family, the owners of Hobby Lobby, planned to donate the fragments to Museum of the Bible, the charitable organization and D.C.-based museum they founded. Statements released today by Museum of the Bible and the Egypt Exploration Society reveal that the Mark fragment was just the beginning of the scandal. Investigations have revealed that (so far) 13 pieces in the Museum’s collection are in fact the rightful property of the Oxford-based nonprofit Egypt Exploration Society.
Stolen or not, let’s hope the Greens were smart enough to buy these antiquities while they were 50-percent off. Otherwise, they’re getting screwed!
So, tell us more about these artifacts. Were they part of the first biblical kitchen cross wall? Were there any ancient clay “Live. Laugh. Love” tablets?
The artifacts in question are all Bible and Bible-related fragments; 12 were written on papyrus and one on parchment. In other words, just the kinds of things that fit the Green Family and Museum of the Bible’s interests. They are part of the Oxyrhynchus Collection, a vast collection of fragments from ancient trash-piles in the city of Oxyrhynchus (modern Al-Bahnasa) in Egypt. The collection was excavated in the late 19th to early 20th centuries and most of it is now the property of the Egypt Exploration Society, which acts as curator of an Oxford-based collection.
That’s kind of ironic. A family that made a massive fortune selling junk is getting in trouble for buying old junk. You have to love how everything comes full circle.
All of which raises the question: How did a U.S.-based company and, later, museum come to be in possession of these ancient Egyptian artifacts? According to the EES statement, they “were taken without authorization from the EES… Eleven of these pieces came into [Museum of the Bible’s] care after being sold to Hobby Lobby Stores by Professor [Dirk] Obbink, most of them in two batches in 2010.” The Museum of the Bible’s statement more directly confirms that the antiquities were “sold illegally” by a “known expert.” A spokesperson for Museum of the Bible further clarified to The Daily Beast, that of these 13 items, only four are the property of the museum, with the remainder belonging to Hobby Lobby as part of the Green Collection.
Both the EES and the University of Oxford confirmed that Obbink is “under investigation… [for] the removal and alleged sale of EES texts.” In the meantime, the University of Oxford confirmed that Obbink continues to be employed there. The university was unable to comment on whether or not Scotland Yard are involved.
Holy Shit. Scotland Yard may get involved? The Hobby Lobby family has turned into a regular old Moriarty. I can already see Holmes and Watson thumbing through the Hobby Lobby poster and prints department looking for clues.
Anyway, if you want to know more about the Green family and their ruthless search for stolen ancient mythological texts, you can check out the full article at The Daily Beast. You can also read this book by OU Professor Dr. Jill Hicks-Keeton. It takes a “critical look” at the Bible Museum.