Geoffrey Smith, a scholar of early Christianity studies at the University of Texas found a strange Ebay entry last January. An ancient Greek papyrus with quotes from the Gospel of John was being sold at a starting price of 99 dollars.
“I thought, this can’t be allowed to sell on eBay,” Dr. Smith said to the New York Times. “It will just disappear into a private collection
The scholar decided to contact the seller, asking him to put an end to the online auction and allow him to examine the ancient Greek papyrus. In the end his wish was fulfilled and he had the chance to take a look at the ancient document which dated back to around 250-350 AD.
His research show that on one side the papyrus contained part of the New Testament, specifically six lines from the Gospel of John. On the other side he found part of an unknown Christian text.
According to the New York Times the the discovery of the ancient Greek papyrus brings up another issue that has to do with the use of internet. “The fact that this one came to light on the internet speaks to the reality for all of us who deal with manuscripts and antiquities,” Dr. Smith said to NYT. “We’re all trying to come to terms with these things we study, our prized scholarly possessions, are now coming up for sale online.