Ever since the the Villa dei Papiri and its cache of at least 800 papyrus scrolls was discovered in Herculaneum in 1752, this potential treasure trove of information and insight into the classical world has fascinated scholars with what it could possibly contain. The difficulty has been in how to read them without destroying them. As John Seabrook describes for The New Yorker: "One scroll was peeled apart into many fragments; the other dried up and then, like a disaster in slow motion, split apart into more than three hundred pieces." Now, thanks to new imaging techniques, the contents of the scrolls could—slowly—be revealed.
"For nearly three years, there has been considerable controversy and confusion about whether a business-card sized papyrus fragment dubbed the Gospel of Jesus' Wife is an authentic ancient artifact or not. The current scholarly consensus already holds that the fragment is forgery. In addition, a recent development has confirmed that the Gospel of Jesus' Wife is a forgery created using a specific internet edition of the Gospel of Thomas [pdf]. It seems that the Gospel of Jesus' Wife forgery debate has finally come to an end. " [Previously]
Move over Brangelina. And Bennifer. And Kimye, TomKat*, and Desilu. And sporks. And ligers. EVERYONE MOVE OVER! We're making room for the world's first genetically engineered superfont.Comic Papyrus is finally here. [more inside]
Although she is a literary legend, only one complete poem of Sappho's survives, along with substantial fragments of four others (the last discovered in 2004). Now two new fragments have been discovered. [more inside]
Are paper books becoming obsolete in the digital age, or poised to lead a new cultural renaissance? [more inside]
"A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: 'Jesus said to them, "My wife ... '" [more inside]
Ancient Lives is a project by the University of Oxford which asks your help in transcribing fragments from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri Collection using the Zooniverse model. Leader of the project, Chris Lintott, explains the project here in a short interview. Can you help him find his one-eyed astrologer? [Oxyrhynchus previously]
FONT FIGHT! the long-awaited (by me and other fontaholics) follow-up to Font Conference. Better than the first IMO, but I'm sure we can still take issue with some of the 'characters'. [more inside]
An ancient 3,200-year-old papyrus map has led to the discovery of pharoanic gold mines in Egypt's eastern desert that will give Egypt one of the top 10 gold reserves in the world. The original pharaonic map, which is the world’s earliest surviving geological survey, was discovered in Luxor in 1820 and has since been on display in a Turin museum.