Trashing the Scriptures

Sometimes, in the flurry of email notifications about recent journal articles, a title or abstract leaps out at you and gives you one of those 'I never thought of it that way…' moments.

As Exhibit A, I give you:

Sacred Scriptures as Trash: Biblical Papyri from Oxyrhynchus

Author: Luijendijk, AnneMarie1

Source: Vigiliae Christianae,
Volume 64, Number 3, 2010
, pp. 217-254(38)

Publisher: BRILL


Most New Testament papyri with
a known provenance were found at the site of the ancient Egyptian city
of Oxyrhynchus, or more precisely: on that city's rubbish mounds. The
fact that sacred scriptures were discarded as garbage is surprising in
view of the holiness of Christian biblical manuscripts, intrinsically
and physically. Yet the trash aspect of provenance has never been
adequately problematized or studied. Taking a social-historical and
garbological approach, this article demonstrates that at Oxyrhynchus in
antiquity entire manuscripts with biblical writings were deliberately
discarded by Christians themselves, unrelated to persecution and issues
of canonicity.

I foresee a new SBL Program Unit entitled 'Garbology and the New Testament' – anyone want to co-chair it with me?