FIRST AND FOREMOST: MANY PEOPLE SEEM TO BE UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT ONLY BIBLICAL MANUSCRIPTS HAVE BEEN FOUND AT OXYRHYNCHUS. NO. ONE MILLION I SAID ONE MILLION PAPYRI HAVE BEEN FOUND AT OXYRHYNCHUS, AND 5257 HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED SO FAR, OF WHICH ONLY A SMALL FRACTION HAVE BEEN BIBLICAL. THE FINDS, COPIES MADE FROM THE 3RD CENTURY BC TO THE 7TH CENTURY AD, INCLUDE, BESIDES PERSONAL LETTERS, LEGAL DOCUMENTS, SHOPPING LISTS AND OTHER MUNDANE THINGS, HOMER, HESIOD AND MANY OTHER ANCIENT GREEK AUTHORS, LATIN AUTHORS SUCH AS LIVY, VERGIL AND SALLUST, AS WELL AS SOME COPTIC AND ARABIC TEXTS, AND JUST A VERY FEW IN HEBREW, ARAMAIC, SYRIAC AND PAHLAVI. MANY OF THE CLASSICAL GREEK AND LATIN TEXTS FOUND HERE HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN LOST. OXYRHYNCHUS HAS TURNED THE STUDY OF ANCIENT GREEK LITERATURE UPSIDE-DOWN IN A VERY, VERY GOOD WAY, AND IT'S ALSO BEEN QUITE NICE, ALTHOUGH IN A MUCH LESS SPECTACULAR WAY, FOR SCHOLARS OF LATIN AND COPTIC AND ARABIC.
SPIEGEL (the German news magazine), yr Datasierung or whatever you call it, the way you make the content of yr back issues available for Internet searches -- it sux!!
I was searching and searching for Ernst Jandl's reaction to winning a literary prize. I think it was the Buechner-Preis, just about the most prestigious and hoity-toity of all German literary prizes. Jandl won that prize about 20 years ago, and since then public opinion has caught up with him a bit. And he's died, which of course is the single best thing any artist can do for the commercial success and critical esteem of his work, but 20 years ago some people were upset that this guy who wrote poems like
lechts und rinks
kann man nicht velwechsern
werch ein illtum!
which, take my word for it, is really funny and also a brilliant poem -- people were upset that this weirdo Jewish guy had gotten the Buechner-Preis. (Although they didn't complain publicly a whole lot about the part about him being a Jew.)
And I was searching for that damn SPIEGEL-story announcing Jandl winning some prize, I think it was the Buechner-Preis, wherin it said that his first words upon hearing that he'd won were something like "Ich bin ganz bestuerzt." ("I'm shocked.") or "Ich bin entsetzt." ("I'm apalled.") Whatever is was, it, too, was brilliant, the most brilliant reaction I've heard yet to a person's winning a prestigious award.
And the reason I bring that up is that I would be both shocked and appalled if anyone considered me to be a reliable source of information. Specifically, I worry that I may have given some misinformation about the Oxyrhynchus papyri on this blog.
I corrected one such mistake today: I had written that over 100 volumes of the Oxyrhynchus papyri have been published so far. In fact, volume LXXX was published last year. I think there may be other errors which I didn't find, because years ago I often did a really terrible job of labeling my blog posts. For example, I'm pretty sure I've told people that over 10,000 Oxyrhynchus papyri have been published. In fact, volume LXXX brings the grand total to 5257. Out of about 1,000,000 papyri found at Oxyrhynchus. Some good news is that the publishers have radically reduced the prices of many of those 80 volumes. By how much? By this much: the most recent volumes are selling on Amazon for $170 a pop, but volumes as recent as Volume LXXII, from 2008, are going for $20, brand-ass new.
There are better sources of information about papyri than I. There are the aforementioned 80 volumes containing the texts of the papyri, translations, commentary and photos. Iss a Ding!
GW Schwendner of Wichita State University publishes a stupendous blog called What's New in Papyrology. The blog contains so much information about the current haps in the field, and it's updated so often, that the main problem is just wading through the enormous amount of information. A good problem to have.
The University of Heidelberg has a very impressive papyrology website.
Oxford University is the one that owns the great majority of those 1,000,000 Oxyrhynchus papyri and the one which has published the aforementioned very fine 80 volumes of 5257 papyri since 1898. And don't worry, they've found some ways to speed up the process of editing and publishing those papyri, so that, although much yet remains to be done and publishing everything will take quite a while, it isn't expected to take 15,229 years. They're doing lots of good work on these papyri and are to be highly commended.
They are not to be commended on their Oxyrhynchus papyrii website. It contains a lot of information, including, for example, images of many, perhaps all (the website sucks so hard that it's difficult to be sure) of the 5257 papyri which have been published so far. But that wealth of information is presented very poorly, and the site seems to be updated only every 5 years or so, by a moron. (It needed to be said.)
And to return to my shortcomings: I have a very bad feeling that "papyri" may be misspelled many, many times on this blog, with 2 i's on the end instead of 1: "papyrii" instead of "papyri." I am appalled.