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April 19, 2021

The Trash of Oxyrhynchus

Have you ever had to dig through the trash to search for something you lost? Wouldn’t it be exciting if the next time you were looking for your retainer in the lunchroom trashcan you found an ancient treasure? Just over a hundred years ago, two professors traveled from England all the way to Egypt to dig through the trash. But this wasn’t just any trash. This trash was in a place called Oxyrhynchus, and it had been buried for over a thousand years. In the trash, they found thousands of scraps of writing from a long, long time ago. There were notes, poems, stories, and also verses from many parts of the Bible. They’re some of the oldest Bible verses ever found. In this gallery you will see some of these fragments. Make sure you take a look at the one they call P39. It is one of the most-studied fragments. In fact, scholars are still working on the scraps. There are so many it’s been estimated that, even after 100 years, only ten percent of them have been carefully studied. Like they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.


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