Talk:Oxyrhynchus Papyri

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The more accurately descriptive title here is List of Oxyrhyncus New Testament papyri, which describes what's been written. Such a title leaves open the poissibility of a List of Oxyrhynchus classical Greek papyri, which might be of interest to someone. Anyone object to the move? --Wetman 14:17, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Well, my concern is we have List of New Testament papyri. If we move this article (instead of expanding it), then we will have to articles with redundant content, except the Oxyrhynchus article will be a shorter list. If anything, this article, if it isn't expanding to include other articles, should be merged with the general NT papyri list article. We could perhaps highlight the P. Oxy.'s with a light red color on the table. Another suggestion brought up at CfD regarding the P. Oxy. categories was to move this article to Oxyrhynchus papyri and expand the content. And that could work if we removed the big NT papyri table (which, as stated, is basically redundent with List of New Testament papyri). Ok, so in summary. I suggest we move this article to Oxyrhynchus papyri and expand it so it doesn't just cover the NT, then merge the NT table with List of New Testament papyri.-Andrew c 16:04, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

This article currently is not about the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, but instead the New Testament Oxyrhynchus Papyri. The vast majority of the P. Oxy.'s are not NT manuscripts. The list, I believe, is completely redundant with the List of New Testament papyri. The P. Oxy.'s are identified in a specific color, and you can sort the table based on manuscript number, so it's easy to identify or group the P. Oxy.s from the other P.'s. As for Oxyrhynchus, that article is not about the town as much as it is about the manuscripts and the archaeological find. After these articles are merged, an article specifically about the town can be created (using content from these articles).-Andrew c 01:16, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

There's not much to say about the town as it is under the present town of el-Bahnasa. It seems that this article needs expanding to include the other papyri (good luck with that, there are a few volumes still to come!). The structure of Oxyrhynchus seems fine to me. It covers what we do know about the town, the excavation and the finds without simply becoming a list of papyri topped off with a little introduction (which is what this article should be). Yomanganitalk 01:35, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
The intention in creating this article was to provide an equivalent to Chester Beatty Papyri and Bodmer Papyri, both of which also include non-Biblical mss I believe. The Biblical mss at the locations are notable in their own right w/in the field of Biblical textual criticism. I have personally been working on Egyptian love poetry which is known from some C-B papyri. I would imagine there will come a point (maybe I will do it myself), where we provide enough information about non-Biblical mss in these classes to warrant renaming/reorganizing the articles. Another reason for this particular list is that it makes navigation easier for editors or readers working on biblical Oxy paps, given that the numbers of the whole are so huge. In conclusion, I think the current name will not last, however, I think the subset "bib Oxy pap" will endure as an appropriate boundary for a specific article. Alastair Haines 02:04, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
I politely disagree with Yomangani that Oxyrhynchus seems fine. The lead is ok, as are the "Etymology" and "History" sections in relation to an article about a historical town. "Excavation" is a little problematic because the actual town wasn't excavated (The town site of Oxyrhynchus itself has never been excavated, because the modern Egyptian town is built on top of it). This entire section could be transposed directly to this article, and it would work fine, because nearly every sentence is referencing the Oxyrhynchus Papyri. "Finds" also could be transposed because again it is only describing Oxyrhynchus Papyri. And for obvious reasons "The project today" is not about the historical town Oxyrhynchus, but instead about the project to publish the papyris found near that historical town in volumes titles Oxyrhynchus Papyri. I think it is not the best solution to fill an article with a similarly related topic just because "there's not much to say about the town as it". If there isn't much to say about the town, then that is just how the encyclopedia article about the town will be. I believe that we have a lot of great content at that article, that would fit better in this article, hence my merge proposal.
As for Alastair's comment, I hope that my recent changes to List of New Testament papyri have address navigation concerns. I believe a list of 118 items isn't unmanageable, and with the color coding, and sortable reference numbers, editors can easily single out the P. Oxy.'s (thus making the list here redundant). What could work here is a list of all the current articles on P. Oxy.'s regardless of content. For technical reasons (size), I don't believe we should have a table with thousands and thousands of entries. I agree that this subject matter is confusing, because NT textual criticism refers to these manuscript collections in reference to only the ones containing portions of the NT, but more generally, these terms are used to catalog all manuscripts within these collections (for example, the sources I used when writing Chester Beatty Papyri only mentioned the first 12 in the collection, but maybe that is because they were found at the same site). However, I think expanding articles like Chester Beatty Papyri and Bodmer Papyri to include non-biblical content would be reasonable (as opposed to creating new spinout articles to separate the collections by content). I just think that we should have good information about the find and the content of the P. Oxy. collection here instead of just a list and I think a lot of that content is already written at Oxyrhynchus (maybe one day we could create something like List of Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1-249, List of Oxyrhynchus Papyri 250-499, List of Oxyrhynchus Papyri 500-999, etc). Anyway, if no one is feeling the merger in the way that I proposed, I'm content to let things stand as is for now.-Andrew c 03:25, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
I see your point, but renaming Oxyrhynchus to something like Oxyrhynchus excavation would seem to me a better solution than merging it to Oxyrhynchus Papyri. The argument about the Excavation section not being about the excavation of Oxyrhynchus is a bit misleading; by extension the Papyri article should be renamed Papyri from the former garbage dump of Oxyrhynchus, basically we refer to the excavation as Oxyrhynchus because there is no need to differentiate it further. Some content would and should be duplicated between these two articles, but the title Oxyrhynchus Papyri seems just as restrictive as Oxyrhynchus in terms of what should and shouldn't be included, so I don't see the benefit of a merger. There is also a lack of cited reliable sources for the majority of the content in the Oxyrynchus article, so merging it has additional complications. Yomanganitalk 16:09, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
As someone new to this topic, with a "fresh" set of eyes, I think it would be very reasonable to keep the Oxyrhynchus article with only the Etymology and History sections, and then merge the rest (Excavation, Finds, The project today) into the Oxyrhynchus Papyri article. The O. Papyri article should cover "all" the types of finds at the site, not just the biblical texts (although those texts are what I'm primarily interested in). I think biblical researchers will be interested to know that the biblical texts were found mixed in with governmental, financial, and literary documents. One article for all the archaeological project history and finds, and another article for the city and its history, make perfect sense to me. Timotheos 04:05, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for extra detail of the proposal, Andrew. As usual, I can see a lot of sense in your proposal and would rather "get behind" a good idea and a proposer I know to be committed to the project long-term. I'd still rather like the current NT papyri list to stay if there was a merger -- but as a collapsed table. I believe there may be Septuagint fragments among the Oxy paps too, I'd be keen to research that and produce another collapsed table for them. Collapsed tables seem a good way of holding information in an appropriate location, without "crowding out" the descriptive summaries and background. Before closing, I do want to note that the suggestions of all contributers to this discussion seem full of merits. I'm looking forward to seeing something good happening, whatever the precise details. :) Alastair Haines 10:01, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
PS Wieland Willker, as usual, is right on the money. Looking good is his rough count (probably because there are no systematic sources yet). So I want to track down at least those twenty-odd LXX paps. Alastair Haines 01:21, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
A good way to proceed here, as always, is to leave a concise summary of the removed material, in this case at Oxyrhyncus, with an italicised hatnote Main article.... Then by all means cut n paste the detailed information on the excavated rubbish tip here. That preserves a useful "nested" structure, which I wish we could achieve more widely. --Wetman 06:54, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm just thinking, this article now has a complete list of biblical papyri from Oxy. It has some detailed consideration of the basic issues in understanding the classifications involved, and it is a nice manageable length. Given these things (if others think the same) it may work well for it to be a self-contained nested unit within a larger tree. Something like this:
  • Oxyrhynchus (parent article, detail on location and dates, summaries of genres of papyri)
    • |-Oxyrhynchus excavation (optional article, maybe best covered in parent)
    • |-Oxyrhynchus biblical papyri already written!
    • |-Oxyrhynchus theological papyri (main source Oxford Uni Oxy Project)
    • |-Oxyrhynchus classical literature (main source Oxford Uni Oxy Project)
    • |-Oxyrhynchus documentary manuscripts (main source Duke Uni Perseus Project)
    • |-Oxyrhynchus Arabic manuscripts (often paper, there's a source for this too I think)
One advantage with this scheme is that it follows Oxy Pap 's own classification system. They face many of the same issues we do, and have the advantage of funding to do it, also we can follow objectively (or critically if needed) something that is publically available. Alastair Haines 01:49, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Ok, NOW we have a list of complete biblical papyri (see my last edit ;). I still personally believe that the best article to give an overview of the collection and genre would be titled Oxyrhynchus Papyri. I could see a case for keeping the excavation information in the article about the ancient town Oxyrhynchus. I think we both agree that the current content of this article doesn't exactly match the title. I wouldn't mind moving this article, but I'm not sure where (Oxyrhynchus biblical papyri, Oxyrhynchus Papyri (biblical) or something else?) I was considering getting started on listing the Homer manuscripts. Your categorization scheme seems prudent.-Andrew c 21:21, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
Homer manuscripts would be great. In about a year I want to include some treatment of Homer in my dissertation. The same kind of thing would be true of other readers. Biblical manuscripts generally have a high profile and notability, because of the prominence of the Bible, but classical works by known authors, have a dedicated, though smaller, readership. The documentary papyri are fascinating for knowledge of ancient life, but so numerous and diverse.
I think it's OK to have dealt with classification of Apocrypha and included NT apocryphal books as you have, though as you note, the NT apocryphal books never actually made it into any offical Bible. Technically they are not Biblical, but they are so obviously connected to the Bible -- dealing with the same topics, and self-consciously influenced by its style -- they are "Biblical" books in a broader sense.
On the other hand, 1 Clement is a fascinating book, it reads rather like a Pauline letter and is addressed to the Corinthians. It is generally dated to 95 or 96. It doesn't claim to be scripture, but it is the first of the patristic writings. It is earlier, and has had more respect given to it in the churches, than the later gnostic gospels. It feels odd to me to have the Gospel of Thomas in a biblical list, and not to have 1 Clement. Neither are Bible, but the latter was read and quoted in the churches, where the first was cited as heretical. I'm thinking I might run through the Oxy list again looking for patristic writings, and researching all other documents labeled as "theological". Essentially that would exhaust the whole category that includes the biblical papyri.
Also, I think I recall seeing reference to libelli among the oxy paps. These are highly significant in church history. The patristic writers often deal with the issues that arose due to Christians being making public sacrifices to the emperor cult, and receiving the libellus in exchange. It protected them against persecution from Roman authorities, however, it was taken as a serious sin, a revocation of the faith by most church writers. Some writers, however, considered the persecutions to be so horrendous, that Christians who gave in could easily be understood, and should be forgiven and re-admitted to the church.
The point of this is, Christian students alone would be interested in more than the bibilical papyri. Several classes of them could be relevent to "theology" defined broadly. In fact, pagan sacrifice is a type of theology. Anyway, if I were a first year church history student and looked up Libellus at Wiki, I'd be absolutely impressed if the article actually pointed to half-a-dozen libelli papyri from Oxy, or at least an article that had a list of these papyri.
I'll do some more thinking about the Oxy paps and the way they are classified at the Oxford site. The more closely we follow their divisions, the more objective we are and the easier it will be to use classification terms and categories that fit in with what readers/researchers in the area are used to.
Although this Oxy project we're working on is huge, I'm pretty sure Wiki's done other big projects. I'd like us to have a comprehensive but flexible classification scheme, and at least two of the sub categories written up -- the "Biblical/theological" category (if that's what we decide) and say the "Known classical writers" sub-cat. Then I'd feel we'd really put this topic "on the map".
Anyway, I'll work on patristics et al and libelli and try to reproduce the Oxford database on my home computer. I'll send you the file when I'm finished (though it may take a month or two). Alastair Haines 10:43, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the article Oxyrhynchus should be only about the town, and that the information about the papyri, excavations and archeological findings should be combined ino the same article. --Lanternix 18:49, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes, so much work has now been done on this article, we now have more information about the papyri than the town. The only comment I'd make is that this article should be a parent to potentially larger articles covering the particular genres of papyri found. So far we only have the theological papyri (and some related documentary papyri). I think I shall make an effort to gather classical authors together — there are two clear sub-types, works previously known, and works unique to Oxyrhynchus. I may also make the effort to produce a documentary papyri article, because these are specifically grouped together at Perseus. They are far too numerous for comprehensive listing (at least at this stage). Alastair Haines 02:43, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
Almost a year has gone by since the discussion above, yet this article still contains only references to biblical papyri. When I first read this article, I kept scrolling down, expecting to find mentions of the (many) other Oxyrhynchus discoveries. I was surprised when I found nothing else (which is why I checked this discussion page). It doesn't make sense that only biblical references are listed in an article with this title, as several people in this discussion have pointed out. Oxyrhynchus included many other kinds of manuscripts, including some monumental finds. This article makes it look like it was just biblical stuff. Something needs to be changed, whether it's the title of the article, or the content.Chillowack (talk) 06:05, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
You need to add a concise report on the classical papyri found at Oxyrhynchus. --Wetman (talk) 15:04, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree that this has always been a problem, an article about a large set of manuscripts focusing only on a small portion of those manuscripts. I have re-arranged the article a little to make room for additions of non-theological texts. I'm not sure how we should start gathering or organizing the other manuscripts (by genre and/or author seems like an ok idea). However, I went to the list and noticed there were ~175 MSS listed under "Epic Poetry". Homer has about ~32 MSS. Hesiod has about 75 MSS (which would be a lot to list them all. Plutarch has 2 MSS, while Plato has ~35. ~10 for Sappho, 12 for Sophocles. 2 Virgil. ~40 for Menander, 25 for Isocrates. ~60 for Euripides. ~33 for Callimachus. 2 Aristotle. Plus tons of other authors. If we were all inclusive, like we currently are for the biblical MSS, this page would be huge. Maybe we should decide who gets included, or how many MSS to list? I think Homer is a big enough name that including all ~32 MSS wouldn't be a bad idea. Anyone have any idea how to proceed? I'm going to work on creating a table for Homer MSS in a sandbox.-Andrew c [talk] 15:37, 13 May 2008 (UTC)


Woohoo! Got four of them from here. IV 658, XII 1464, XLI 2990, LVIII 3929. I'm not sure if this is where we get the word libel from. I think there's a good chance it is. I can feel a new article coming on! :D Alastair Haines 11:20, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Shhh! Don't tell anyone. I did some Original research on the libelli. One of them is dated, but not recorded in the sources I use. ;) Alastair Haines 15:21, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Non-biblical P. oxy[edit]

We all know that the majority of Oxyrhynchus manuscripts are not biblical, yet the focus of this article is clearly on the biblical. I have suggested in the past spinning this article off to something like Biblical Oxyrhynchus Papyri, but that suggest was rejected at the time. If we are going to keep this article about the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, then we need to greatly expand it. Quite a while ago, I worked up a table on the Homeric texts, see User:Andrew_c/test. Would someone care to look over that table and give comment on it (and if people like it, we can make whatever modifications and import it into this article). Then, if there is motivation, we can start working on expanding sections on other texts. What do other editors think is important to cover? I think Homer, for hopefully obvious reasons, is a good area to start, but what other topics and authors do you think are important to add to this page?-Andrew c [talk] 02:14, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Anyone watching this page, want to help collaborate on this?-Andrew c [talk] 23:23, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Is this article about The Oxyrhynchus Papyri or papryi from Oxyrhynchus?[edit]

There have been numerous excavations at the site and papyri discovered at Oxyrhynchus have been published in various collections—in fact, many of these are fragments from the same ancient MSS to which P.Oxy. pieces belong. For example: P.Oxy. LXVIII 4654 derives from the same roll that yielded PSI inv. 2001. I intend to expand this page in the near future but, before I do, I would like to know peoples' opinions on this question: Is this article about papyri discovered at Oxyrhynchus or about the specific publication The Oxyrhynchus Papyri? P.Oxy.2354 (talk) 15:30, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

I think the answer might be "both," in the same way as at present. This, and no other, would seem to be the place to discuss Oxyrhynchus qua site of papyrus finds (unless this aspect grows significant enough to be broken off into its own article). On the other hand, the structure given by the standard forms of reference to papyri (however irrational and however often overlapping) would probably be a helpful way to organize any itemized listing and accounting of papyri in Wikipedia articles. Readers will come here soonest if they want to know about papyri to which correct reference is made in the style of your username; if they type in PSI, perhaps eventually a link will be offered to Pubblicazioni della Società Italiana per la ricerca dei papiri greci e latini in Egitto? Of course, such lists should contain links cross-referencing related papyri. (Also, there are enough cases where a papyrus is classified within two collections: this makes including them where they aren't classified seem even more like overkill.)
I do think the standard should be what will provide the best path towards a clearly and efficiently organized set of articles on ancient papyri in general. (My concrete suggestion may be a poor attempt to see that path: if so, please disregard it or modify it.)
To say another word about a PSI overview article. Wikipedia already has several articles on NT papyri and uncial codex fragments published in PSI (together with articles like Hellenica Oxyrhynchia, which doesn't even make such specific mentions as PSI 1304 and POxy 842), which are not even united by a category, and there is nowhere in Wikipedia from which to link e.g. these freely available volumes. But then, we don't have an article on all kinds of important papyri collections: PHerc comes to mind. Perhaps my idea that we ever will is mistily impractical. Do as seems best to you. Wareh (talk) 14:47, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
I see now that the opening of my comment is mistaken. Oxyrhynchus has its own ideas about the division. This should be better rationalized: either the publication plans for the Oxyrhynchus Papyri series, etc., should be moved here where they logically belong, or perhaps this article should be renamed even more narrowly (e.g. List of Oxyrhynchus papyri). Wareh (talk) 19:20, 29 September 2010 (UTC)
And from the blue-linked redirect, I learn that in fact this article was called List of Oxyrhynchus papyri for the first 12 days of its existence, until 30 May 2007... Wareh (talk) 19:21, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Oxyrhynchus Papyri collection at the National Library of Wales[edit]

Hello, I would be most grateful if someone could add details of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri held by the National Library of Wales, in the correct place, as there is currently no mention of them on this page. Thanks Jason.nlw (talk) 11:45, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

Works of Greek literature among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri[edit]

I noticed that a great deal of recent work has been conducted on this article so I thought I would bring to attention the fact that this article incredibly narrowly focusses only on Bible-related papyri, in spite of the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri contain Greek writings completely unrelated to the Bible or early Christianity. For some reason, these works are only briefly mentioned in the lede and never discussed anywhere in the article itself, which focusses exclusively on Biblical manuscripts and documents related to the Bible. It is good that this information is in here, but the scope of this article needs to be broadened. For instance, it should at least discuss other works such as Sophocles's Ichneutae, and the many, many fragments of authors like Sappho and Menander, previously thought to have been lost forever, that were recovered amidst the Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Also deserving of mention are the various non-literary works such as letters, wills, and various other miscellania recovered amongst the Papyri of Oxyrhynchus that have no literary value, but which reveal a considerable amount of information about daily life. --Katolophyromai (talk) 02:13, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Great idea. Probably the best place to start would be with the outline itself. Does it make more sense to organize the content by language system, from earliest to latest?

Instead of 1. Theological Manuscripts ((Old Testament) (New Testament)) and 2. Homer - does it make more sense to use something like 1. Earliest Ancient Language, 2. Next Earliest Language . . . n.) Arabic (most recent language)?

The tables should also probably be moved to their own separate page(s) so that this top level introduction can be just that. Fb2ts (talk) 11:24, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

That sounds like a fine idea to me. I may help out a little bit as you reorganize, but I am not really planning on helping out too much here, because I am already busy working on some other articles, but I thought I would make this suggestion since I noticed that the narrow focus of the article seemed rather startling and there were several people who had been recently working on it. Thank you for listening to my suggestion. --Katolophyromai (talk) 14:33, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Wrestling Text[edit]

Perhaps it would be appropriate to mention that Europe's oldest martial arts text (MS P.Oxy.III.466) comes from the Oxyrhynchus papyri? The Jade Knight (talk) 21:27, 3 June 2017 (UTC)

If you have a source to support it, I invite you to add it to the article. It sounds notable enough to warrant inclusion and we have been talking about how the article needs more material on non-Biblical papyri. --Katolophyromai (talk) 22:24, 3 June 2017 (UTC)
There's a big chunk at Wiktenauer, as you undoubtedly know. But where would you put it?
That's probably what you are wondering.
The framework in the current article (circa 2007 (ten years ago!)) is decidedly lopsided. What do you guys think? So far we have mention of Greek and Arabic manuscripts. Does it make sense to you to change the top level headings (1, 2, 3 . . . ) to Greek, Hebrew & Arabic?
1. Change "Theological Manuscripts" to "Greek Manuscripts" and, unless those manuscripts labeled Old Testament are in Hebrew, moving the Old and New Testament headings as subsets of Christian. Like so:
1. Greek
1.1. Christian
1.1.1. Papyri
1.1.2. Vellum
1.2. Pagan (Homer, Euripides, Sophocles, etc.) and
1.3 Secular(Wrestling, Euclid, etc).
2. Hebrew (I don't see any mention of it, but I find it hard to believe there wouldn't be anything)
3. Coptic, Aramaic, Latin (if there's nothing in Latin, given that Egypt became part of the Roman Empire upon the death of Cleopatra, its very absence is remarkable). . .
4. Arabic (see intro for single document that is just a citation in an online database in Egypt, as far as I can tell. With very little beyond that, if anything. It is interesting because it is alleged to be paper - at a time when paper had not reached Europe.
And last, but certainly not least, how could this massive excavation be rated "C-class, Low-importance"? Three times! That's just shocking. Fb2ts (talk) 11:46, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
We should keep the "Theological manuscripts" section the way it is right now, but we should add more sections on the other manuscripts that have been discovered. Your outline above seems like a decent enough rough draft for the reorganization, but we should make sure that, in the process of expanding the information about non-Biblical manuscripts, we do not end up deleting any of the material that is currently in the article. --Katolophyromai (talk) 12:11, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
OK. Seems a bit cumbersome to me, but if The Jade Knight concurs, and we keep the Theological Manuscripts heading, the outline would then look something like this:
1. Theological Manuscripts
1.1. Greek
1.1.1. Christian Old Testament New Testament Apocrypha
1.1.2. Pagan Homer Euripides Sophocles, etc.
1.2. Coptic, Aramaic, Hebrew . . . Arabic.
2. Secular Manuscripts
2.1. Greek
2.1.1. Wrestling
2.1.2. Euclid
2.1.3. Menander
2.1.4. Other . . .
3. Transactional Ephemera
3.1. Greek/Arabic(?)/Coptic
3.1.1. Memoranda, Contracts, Private Letters, Tax receipts.
That's quite a bit of wrestling, but clearly there are a lot of ways in which this entry could be appropriately fleshed out. Fb2ts (talk) 13:42, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
I was not saying we necessarily need to keep the section heading. I was just saying that we need to keep the information in the section and not get rid of any of it because it is still important. We can move the information around and reorganize it if we need to. --Katolophyromai (talk) 18:01, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
Ah yes! I see that now.Fb2ts (talk) 19:16, 4 June 2017 (UTC)
I do not think we need to devote whole sections to most of these subjects. The wrestling text can be dealt with in just a few sentences, probably. There are also other texts that we should mention, such as the fragments of Margites, the plays of Menander, fragments of the poems of Sappho, Sophocles's Ichneutae, the Oxyrhynchus Hymn, Philaenis of Samos's Art of Love, Against Philosophers, "An Oath to Care for the Trees," and, of course, the various wills and letters that have been discovered. These are probably all things we can work into the framework above, however, and some of them are already listed in the makeshift plan you have drawn up. Dividing the article into "Theological" and "Secular" manuscripts may not be the best way to organize it, but I am still trying to think of a possible better way. --Katolophyromai (talk) 18:26, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

There's a lot to digest. But it's also possible that - if we just plug in a more obviously inclusive framework -- people will engage and contribute. Have you seen these three (seemingly excellent) videos?

The Oxyrhynchus Papyri Project - 10 years of AHRC funded research (21 January 2015)
Oxyrhynchus: the city and its texts - Hellenic Society (20 April 2012)
Citizen Science translating ancient lives - University of Oxford (4 September 2013)Fb2ts (talk) 19:16, 4 June 2017 (UTC)

Proposed changes Summer 2017[edit]

1.a. As the title of this article specifies Oxyrhynchus PAPYRI, I first of all propose that we redirect people who want a more general treatment to go to the main Oxyrhynchus entry - where we should also move references, in the first paragraph, to vellum and paper.

1.b. Grab statement regarding the lion's share of the papyri subject matter (90% administrative documents, NOT literature) from main entry and specify [citation needed] for now, even though I have heard it from the mouth of a recognized authority, it's on the Next Three Things list - unless someone else has it at the ready.

1.c. Reference to “Greek texts”, meaning Pindar, Sappho etc should be changed to something that doesn't imply that the Christian texts were in some language other than Greek. I propose "Pagan texts" - to include both Greek and Latin (Livy & Ovid, for instance) - as reflected in the proposed new outline (see below).

2. Change the headline now reading "Theological Manuscripts" to "Christian Manuscripts" as it implies that Pagan Manuscripts are not Theological, which is incorrect.

3. Change "Homer" headline to Pagan Manuscripts and move the 3 paragraphs in the summary statement about Pagan literature to that subheading (with separate subheadings for Greek and Latin (much later) literature.

4. Add a headline for Practical Manuals (?) - for texts like Euclid and the text.

The Order of Importance is thus proposed to be:

1. The Lion's share of the findings (Public & Private Documents)
2. Pagan Literature (BC: Before the Christian Era)
3. Christian Literature (AD: After the Birth of Christ)
4. Practical Texts?

This, I believe, will be a good start.

Proposed new opening summary

Changes indicated in bold.

Main entry: Oxyrhynchus

The Oxyrhynchus Papyri are a group of manuscripts discovered during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by archaeologists beginning with Bernard Pyne Grenfell and Arthur Surridge Hunt at an ancient rubbish dump near Oxyrhynchus in Egypt (28°32′N 30°40′E, modern el-Bahnasa). The manuscripts date from the 1st century AD, when Egypt became part of the Roman economy to as late as the 7th century AD, when Egypt became part of the Islamic economy.

Although much of the early excitement was generated by literary works in both Greek and Latin, of the many thousands of papyri excavated from Oxyrhynchus, only an estimated 10% were literary {citation needed}. The lion’s share of the papyri found consist of public and private documents: codes, edicts, registers, official correspondence, census-returns, tax-assessments, petitions, court-records, sales, leases, wills, bills, accounts, inventories, horoscopes, and private letters.

Grenfell & Hunt originally sent their findings to the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University, but Oxyrhynchus Papyri today are located in institutions all over the world. (Some work would be done here to verify where significant holdings are located and where ongoing research is currently unfolding - but failing that we can at least grab 3 or 4 locations from the tables detailing holdings of Christian texts.)

Fb2ts (talk) 13:14, 6 June 2017 (UTC)

This sounds like a good plan for starting out. We may need to tweak it some later, but, for now, I think it sounds good. --Katolophyromai (talk) 14:23, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Yay! We'll definitely want to tweak it plenty later. :-) I'm out of time today - but I can definitely get to it this week.
There's more to the wrestling plot. Have you seen this bit?
"in 2012 a special volume of Papyri was published to coincide with the London Olympics. One of the fragments was a contract which asked the father of a young wrestler to throw match for a small fee." Fb2ts (talk) 14:30, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes, I have seen that bit already. Another note I wanted to make was that we should not have the "(BC: Before the Christian Era)" and the "(AD: After the Birth of Christ)" in the headings because that would imply that all the pagan manuscripts come from BC times, but, in actuality, many of the Greek and Roman manuscripts discovered at Oxyrhynchus date from later times. We should just have those headings be titled "Christian texts" and "Pagan texts." --Katolophyromai (talk) 14:39, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
Good point.Fb2ts (talk) 10:03, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

Phew! Done. Thanks for all your help. It's just a first pass, but I think it's much easier to see what we have and what still needs to be built up. A first Next Step might be to highlight more of the important collections around the world.

ALSO: If you search for Oxyrhynchus in Wikipedia, you will find that a large number of entries have been generated for individually catalogued papyri (by their numbers). It seems like it might make sense to move the Christian Text tables to a similar Third Level format and concentrate on developing readable text for this Second Level format. That being said, I have not touched any of the Christian copy, except to change Theological Manuscripts to Christian Texts, as we discussed.

Maybe the number one most exciting thing to do next is to add a section, to immediately follow the introductory summary, on the open source deciphering projects that are now hitting the ground running. They're crowdsourcing the tasks and leveraging all kinds of breakthrough technologies. Some quarter million volunteers have been drafted for the effort. How could they not be tempted to turn to Wikipedia for more information? If we play our cards right, this entry could really take off! Fb2ts (talk) 14:01, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

Right now I am working on trying to expand the section on "Greek texts." I have already begun to convert the bullet points you added into paragraphs and add more citations to support the information given. --Katolophyromai (talk) 14:24, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

What do you think? Are "perhaps the most shocking" and "most benefited" a bit hyperbolic for a wikipedia entry?

ALSO: did you mean to suggest that Livy is NOT literary? For that matter, I know I left that little preamble under Pagan Texts - but the Bible is certainly an important literary work. Perhaps that paragraph should go somewhere in the summary, and it might then make sense also to change "Pagan Texts" to "Pagan Literature" and "Christian Texts" to "Christian Literature" Fb2ts (talk) 14:50, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

I was not trying to suggest that Livy was not literary. The reason I moved the paragraph into the "Greek texts" section was because I thought it would flow better to have the paragraph lead directly into the information about the texts without the "Greek" subheading in between. I did not consider that moving the paragraph might inadvertently seem to imply that Livy's writings were not literary. I have now moved the paragraph back to the main section. Thanks for pointing that implication out. We could move the paragraph into the lead if you think that would be a more appropriate place to put it.
In regards to your question about the words "most shocking" and "most benefited," I think that "most shocking" probably is too hyperbolic. I was not really sure about that part when I wrote it, but I was trying to think of a good lead-in to the paragraph about the Ichneutae. The "most benefited" is probably not too hyperbolic because of the context in which it is being used, but I was planning on doing some more revision to that paragraph anyway. Since most of what we have of the writings of Menander comes from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, I think that at least a good-sized paragraph should be devoted to it. --Katolophyromai (talk) 15:09, 7 June 2017 (UTC)

June 2017[edit]

Wow! This entry is really shaping up. Nice work. What do you think of the idea of using more succinct subtitles, e.g., Drama, History, Math & Poetry?


Re: Drama

The second paragraph of the Drama section begins "one notable" which implies that the first paragraph does not refer to a notable text. Perhaps "Another notable" would be closer to what you meant to say?

Re: History

  1. (Especially if you decide to go with the "Another" mentioned above) An important historical work unearthed at Oxyrhynchus was a mostly complete codex containing (seems like including "the treatise" muffles the punch of what you're saying) The Constitution of the Athenians (this is SO important and SO exciting it boggles the mind!).
  2. A second, more extensive papyrus version of the text was purchased in Egypt by an American missionary in 1890 (this is a bit confusing - why mention the first "mostly complete" version? It sounds like the second version was possibly not found at Oxyrhynchus -- or even that its provenance might be (dangerously) unknown).
  1. E. A. Wallis Budge of the British Museum acquired it later that year, and the first edition, edited by British Paleaographer Frederic G. Kenyon, was published in January, 1891.

It's so great that you know so much about this stuff. Thanks for sharing. Fb2ts (talk) 16:39, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

I have just implemented most of the changes you have requested. I did not remove the word "treatise" from the sentence about Aristotle's Constitution of the Athenians because I want to make it clear that this is referring to a treatise purportedly written by Aristotle, which is about the Athenian Constitution and its historical development, not the actual Constitution itself. Here in the United States, we have a written Constitution and people naturally tend to assume that a Constitution is a written document, but technically the word "constitution" actually refers to the governing system itself, not the document describing it. The Athenians did not have a single written document detailing their system of government, or at least not one that has survived.
To answer your questions about the two manuscripts, the first, only partially extant manuscript of the treatise came from Oxyrhynchus. The later, more complete version did not. I also apologize for calling the first text "mostly complete"; that was a bit of an exaggeration on my part. I have now toned down the wording of that sentence to make it more precise and more accurate. --Katolophyromai (talk) 20:41, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Will you LOOK at that table of Contents? What an improvement!
Thanks for the 101 on that treatise. What if someone in the fourth grade got interested in palaeography and Oxyrhychus? Do you think they would know what you just told me? Is there some way to weave it into the text? It seems pretty important. If you do, I know you're busy with a lot of things, but if you do, it might make sense to say "many countries" instead of just "the United States". Montesquieu was a Frenchman, after all.
Fb2ts (talk) 21:52, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

September 2017: Manuscripts WikiProject in start-up mode[edit]

I'm thinking of starting a Manuscripts WikiProject. Would you be interested in such a thing? The first step is apparently to go to the talk pages of all the articles linked to the Manuscripts category page (and it's various subcategory pages), and encourage people to add their name to the as yet unlaunched WikiProject list. I'd officially propose the WikiProject first, of course.

It's clearly a lot of work. But we wouldn't have to be in a hurry. And Wikipedia probably has a great group of editors, and editor wannabes, in search of each other!

ALSO: how could there not be a Paleaographer page? That's ridiculous!

Fb2ts (talk) 11:50, 26 September 2017 (UTC)