Letter from Theon to His Mother (P.Oxy. 1678)

Letter from Theon to His Mother (P.Oxy. 1678)

Collection ID

PAP.000293

Type

Papyrus

Date

ca. 200–300 CE

Geography

Oxyrhynchus, now al-Bahnasā, (Egypt)

Language

Greek

Medium

Papyrus, ink

Dimensions

10.47 × 6.3 in. (26.6 × 16.0 cm)

Exhibit Location

On view in The History of the Bible, Bibles for Everyone.


In this letter, Theon writes to his mother to explain that business has kept him away from home. He asks her to let him know if he should return home or go to Alexandria. If he is to go to Alexandria, he also requests that she tell him what things he should get there. In the third line, he tells his mother that he is praying to “the lord god” for her. Grenfell and Hunt warned that this expression did not necessarily mean that Theon was a Christian. Finally, he sends greetings to various family members, making his writing smaller to squeeze in all the names.

Created in the 3rd century CE in Egypt and sent to Oxyrhynchus. Excavated in the early 1900s by Bernard Grenfell (1869–1926) and Arthur Hunt (1871–1934);[1] Acquired by the Egypt Exploration Fund until 1915–1922; Ownership assumed between 1915–1922 by Bonebrake Theological Seminary, later renamed United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio;[2] Acquired in 2009–2010 by Dirk Obbink, Oxford, England; Privately purchased in 2010 by the Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Gifted in 2013 to Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt, The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, v. XIV (Egypt Exploration Society, 1920), 137–139. [2] Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt, The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, v. XVI (Egypt Exploration Society, 1924), 279. The Egyptian Exploration Fund, which sponsored Grenfell and Hunt’s work, began distributing papyri as gifts to supporting institutions in 1900. By 1922, it had gifted approximately three thousand items to 103 institutions, including United Theological Seminary. See Roberta Mazza, “Papyri Ethics, and Economics: A Biography of P.Oxy. 15.1780 (P39),” Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 52 (2015): 113–142.

Selected References:

Lincoln H. Blumell, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (Brill, 2012).

Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt, The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, v. XIV (Egypt Exploration Society, 1920).

Description

In this letter, Theon writes to his mother to explain that business has kept him away from home. He asks her to let him know if he should return home or go to Alexandria. If he is to go to Alexandria, he also requests that she tell him what things he should get there. In the third line, he tells his mother that he is praying to “the lord god” for her. Grenfell and Hunt warned that this expression did not necessarily mean that Theon was a Christian. Finally, he sends greetings to various family members, making his writing smaller to squeeze in all the names.


Provenance

Created in the 3rd century CE in Egypt and sent to Oxyrhynchus. Excavated in the early 1900s by Bernard Grenfell (1869–1926) and Arthur Hunt (1871–1934);[1] Acquired by the Egypt Exploration Fund until 1915–1922; Ownership assumed between 1915–1922 by Bonebrake Theological Seminary, later renamed United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio;[2] Acquired in 2009–2010 by Dirk Obbink, Oxford, England; Privately purchased in 2010 by the Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Gifted in 2013 to Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt, The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, v. XIV (Egypt Exploration Society, 1920), 137–139. [2] Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt, The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, v. XVI (Egypt Exploration Society, 1924), 279. The Egyptian Exploration Fund, which sponsored Grenfell and Hunt’s work, began distributing papyri as gifts to supporting institutions in 1900. By 1922, it had gifted approximately three thousand items to 103 institutions, including United Theological Seminary. See Roberta Mazza, “Papyri Ethics, and Economics: A Biography of P.Oxy. 15.1780 (P39),” Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 52 (2015): 113–142.

Selected References:

Lincoln H. Blumell, Lettered Christians: Christians, Letters, and Late Antique Oxyrhynchus (Brill, 2012).

Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt, The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, v. XIV (Egypt Exploration Society, 1920).


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