Hobby Lobby Will Return Biblical Antiquities Allegedly Stolen by Oxford Professor

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tags: museums, Oxford, Hobby Lobby, Museum of the Bible, stolen artifacts

The Museum of the Bible (MOTB) in Washington, DC is embroiled in yet another scandal involving illicit artifacts. The museum, founded by the owners of the arts-and-crafts store chain Hobby Lobby, announced this week that it will be returning allegedly stolen biblical fragments it had acquired from an Oxford professor.

On Monday, October 14, the Egypt Exploration Society (EES), a London-based nonprofit, released a statement accusing professor Dirk Obbink, an Oxford University papyrologist, of allegedly swindling 13 biblical texts on papyrus and parchment from its holdings and selling them to Hobby Lobby in 2010. The statement summarizes the conclusions of an investigation that EES has opened in June of this year in collaboration with MOTB: “These texts were taken without authorisation from the EES, and in most of the thirteen cases the catalogue card and photograph are also missing.” EES added that it was able to identify the missing texts with the help of back-up records.

Dirk Obbink did not respond to Hyperallergic’s immediate request for comment.

MOTB’s board of trustees has accepted the EES claim to ownership of the 13 pieces, and is currently arranging to return them to the organization, the museum said a statement on Monday. 

Read entire article at Hyperallergic

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