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William Schryver

Missing Papyrus

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Greg:

(I always believed there were more scrolls because there are witnesses who said so, and why would they lie? At the time, it had no apologetic interest on one side or the other. It's the sort of incidental detail that is likely to be accurately reported.)

This is a great point.

Critics don't like the Haven and Blanchard quotes (and others) that speak of the long roll. The want to diminish their reliability on the basis of the fact that these were young women who probably weren't really paying close attention to what was going on. I find that attitude condescending and naive. In fact, when you stop to consider what kinds of things an 18-year-old woman would most notice in such an experience, it would be the kinds of elements we read in Haven's account: the length of the roll and the nature of the illustrations on the papyrus itself.

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On the up side, I'm here now thanks to our wise and benevolent moderators. :P

On the down side, I now have no attachment panel at all. ;)

I'll give it a few days, as Hermes suggests, and then perhaps look at a photobucket workaround.

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On the up side, I'm here now thanks to our wise and benevolent moderators. :P

On the down side, I now have no attachment panel at all. ;)

I'll give it a few days, as Hermes suggests, and then perhaps look at a photobucket workaround.

Try now. I think I found the error some where having with uploads. Let me know if it works.

Nemesis

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- New Development -

In response to queries forwarded to several collection directors and conservators around the world, I received overnight a reply from Professor Reinhold Scholl of the University of Leipzig, whose collection of 5000 papyri is world reknown.

Professor Scholl reports on the thickness of ten specimens of Greco-Roman papyri in the collection:

1. 0.20 mm

2. 0.41 mm

3. 0.15 mm

4. 0.12 mm

5. 0.22 mm

6. 0.17 mm

7. 0.27 mm

8. 0.26 mm

9. 0.18 mm

10. 0.20 mm

Average: 0.218 mm

(Courtesy of Professor Reinhold Scholl, Director, Papyrus and Ostraca Collection of the University Library Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.)

Website and Contact Information

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- New Development -

In response to queries forwarded to several collection directors and conservators around the world, I received overnight a reply from Professor Reinhold Scholl of the University of Leipzig, whose collection of 5000 papyri is world reknown.

Professor Scholl reports on the thickness of ten specimens of Greco-Roman papyri in the collection:

1. 0.20 mm

2. 0.41 mm

3. 0.15 mm

4. 0.12 mm

5. 0.22 mm

6. 0.17 mm

7. 0.27 mm

8. 0.26 mm

9. 0.18 mm

10. 0.20 mm

Average: 0.218 mm

(Courtesy of Professor Reinhold Scholl, Director, Papyrus and Ostraca Collection of the University Library Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.)

Website and Contact Information

Thanks for sharing this with us Will.

It would be helpful to get the S factors for these specimens as well. That would give us an indication of how the apparent thickness (wrinkling etc.) relates to the physical thickness.

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Thanks for sharing this with us Will.

It would be helpful to get the S factors for these specimens as well. That would give us an indication of how the apparent thickness (wrinkling etc.) relates to the physical thickness.

Nicholson and Shaw tell us in Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology that traditional papyrus was "pressed in presses" or by using heavy rollers, thus producing a very uniform product; very fine and very thin. (see pp. 233 - 234).

What evidence do you have that there was any appreciable "wrinking, etc." when a papyrus of 120 microns in thickness (the equivalent of modern butcher paper) was rolled up around its umbilicus? A material that thin could quite easily be wrapped to a great tightness, just as rolls of paper are today.

PapyrusScroll.jpg

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Nicholson and Shaw tell us in Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology that traditional papyrus was "pressed in presses" or by using heavy rollers, thus producing a very uniform product; very fine and very thin. (see pp. 233 - 234).

What evidence do you have that there was any appreciable "wrinking, etc." when a papyrus of 120 microns in thickness (the equivalent of modern butcher paper) was rolled up around its umbilicus? A material that thin could quite easily be wrapped to a great tightness, just as rolls of paper are today.

I am trying to gather evidence so that we don't have to rely on assumptions.

Papyrus is rolled or pressed to get the water out, but the process leaves some residual moisture in the material. Thus, some drying occurs over the centuries, which causes shrinkage and wrinkling (just like people). We know that ancient scrolls have wrinkles in them and are more brittle than fresh papyrus.

Do each of the samples you mention above have uniform thickness, as quoted, or is there some variation? What is the variation within a scroll compared to the variation between scrolls?

These guys http://www.papyrusaustralia.com.au/aspx/products_detail.aspx produce papyrus sheets no thinner than 0.2 mm.

"Thickness will vary depending upon requirement as will overall sheet weight per unit area. As a guide, nominal thickness of this product range would vary between 0.2 â?? 0.5mm in single ply, with a weight of approximately 80g/m2, depending upon thickness and density required.

Multiple laminates can also be constructed, depending upon Customer requirements."

I'll bet if you rolled up ten of their 0.5 mm sheets and put them in the desert for two millennia, you'd get a range of thicknesses similar to your ten specimens above. The numbers you've reported may say more about the aging process than they do about manufactured thicknesses.

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I am trying to gather evidence so that we don't have to rely on assumptions.

Papyrus is rolled or pressed to get the water out, but the process leaves some residual moisture in the material. Thus, some drying occurs over the centuries, which causes shrinkage and wrinkling (just like people). We know that ancient scrolls have wrinkles in them and are more brittle than fresh papyrus.

Do each of the samples you mention above have uniform thickness, as quoted, or is there some variation? What is the variation within a scroll compared to the variation between scrolls?

These guys http://www.papyrusaustralia.com.au/aspx/products_detail.aspx produce papyrus sheets no thinner than 0.2 mm.

"Thickness will vary depending upon requirement as will overall sheet weight per unit area. As a guide, nominal thickness of this product range would vary between 0.2 â?? 0.5mm in single ply, with a weight of approximately 80g/m2, depending upon thickness and density required.

Multiple laminates can also be constructed, depending upon Customer requirements."

I'll bet if you rolled up ten of their 0.5 mm sheets and put them in the desert for two millennia, you'd get a range of thicknesses similar to your ten specimens above. The numbers you've reported may say more about the aging process than they do about manufactured thicknesses.

I consider your comments above largely speculative in most respects. And, in particular, you are incorrect--or at least incomplete--on one count.

You wrote: "Papyrus is rolled or pressed to get the water out, but the process leaves some residual moisture in the material." But, according to Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, which I have quoted above, the papyrus was set out to dry in the sun after pressing in order to remove all residual moisture. (See pp. 233-234, here.).

In addition, in the course of my recent readings on papyrus production, I have noted no commentary concerning the tendency of the papyrus to shrink after production. Do you have sources that suggest this? And, if so, how do you intend to employ this fact in an argument?

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For those who are interested, Brian Hauglid and I spent part of today in a private room at the new Church History Library. The Kirtland Egyptian Papers were our primary focus of attention. More to come later on that.

We also spent a considerable amount of our allotted time examining the Joseph Smith Papyri. We requested and were granted permission to make precision measurements of several fragments of the papyri. We employed a micrometer and measured two samples still attached to the thick backing paper. They measured 394 and 368 microns, respectively. We were not able, at this time, to isolate a sample containing only backing paper in order to measure it and, by subtraction, determine the thickness of the attached papyrus. But we were able to measure two samples no longer attached to the backing paper. Those two samples meaured 97 and 127 microns, respectively, about half the thickness of the "average" of Greco/Roman papyri for which I have previously been able to obtain measurements (see above for details). Combined with John Gee's initial measurement of the outermost winding of the scroll of Horos (9.7 cm), the simple calculation of a spiral returns an upper-bound length of approximately 18-25 feet for the missing portion of the scroll.

Again, more to come later ...

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Hi Will,

So... given your and Brian Hauglid's jaunt to the LDS history library can we assume that Brian agrees with your guesstimation of the papyrus length and that Brian believes that the BoAbr was recorded thereon?

If so, that would radically depart from virtually all of my personal communications with Brian.

Cheers,

</brent>

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

(

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Hi Will,

I call your assessment of the overall papyrus length a "guesstimation" because you've provided precious little information about how you took your measurements. You used a micrometer; was it digital or analog? What is the accuracy level of your micrometer?

Since the thicknesses of the average human hair is 80 microns, your measurements of the two samples seem astonishingly thin (I've handled papyrus from the era of the JS papyri and it seemed considerably thicker). How did you determine that the two samples didn't leave a portion of their former selves on the backing paper they were previously mounted on?

Which specific mounted papyrus fragments did you measure? Why were you unable to isolate the backing paper? (I mean, it was right there in front of you, correct?) And, critically, what were your measurements of the lacunae?

I'm skeptical that a formulation of papyrus length ("18-25 feet") with a 7 foot variable is an "objective" calculation that would make Archimedes proud.

My best,

</brent>

http://mormonscripturestudies.com

(

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Hi Will,

I call your assessment of the overall papyrus length a "guesstimation" because you've provided precious little information about how you took your measurements. You used a micrometer; was it digital or analog? What is the accuracy level of your micrometer?

Since the thicknesses of the average human hair is 80 microns, your measurements of the two samples seem astonishingly thin (I've handled papyrus from the era of the JS papyri and it seemed considerably thicker). How did you determine that the two samples didn't leave a portion of their former selves on the backing paper they were previously mounted on?

Which specific mounted papyrus fragments did you measure? Why were you unable to isolate the backing paper? (I mean, it was right there in front of you, correct?) And, critically, what were your measurements of the lacunae?

I'm skeptical that a formulation of papyrus length ("18-25 feet") with a 7 foot variable is an "objective" calculation that would make Archimedes proud.

The details of the methodology employed were meticulously recorded and will be reported in course of time.

A papyrus thickness of 100 - 125 microns is fully consistent with known samples of Greco/Roman papyri as attested in the voluminous collection of the foremost repository of such papyri, the Papyrus and Ostraca Collection of the University Library Leipzig in Germany, as confirmed earlier this year by Professor Reinhold Scholl, director of the collection. There are also New Kingdom papyri measured by Jaroslav Cerny that averaged 125 microns in thickness. The measurements we obtained are therefore clearly comparable to known specimens.

It was not difficult to discern that the measured samples were intact fragments (that is, they had separated cleanly from the adhesive and the thick paper to which the cut portions of the scrolls had been mounted). In fact, one of the fragments did clearly manifest residue from the backing paper and the adhesive, and it measured considerably thicker than the untainted samples. Furthermore (and you appear to have missed my point entirely in reporting the thickness of the measured samples still attached to the backing paper) the samples still attached to the backing paper measured less than 400 microns! Since the thick backing paper is clearly 2x - 3x thicker than the papyrus itself, you do the math: the thickness of the papyrus must be somewhere between 100 - 200 microns.

And finally, since you have apparently failed to comprehend the significance of the calculated range (18'-25') I reported for the "upper-bound" length of the missing portion of the scroll, I will clarify: it is based on the range of the measurements of the samples (97-127 microns). Of course, I do not believe the actual length of the missing portion of the scroll was somewhere between 18'-25' (which is merely the "upper-bound," or the maximum possible length if the scroll had been wound as tightly as possible) but most certainly it was less. Even so, a missing length only half of the "upper-bound" would be 9'-12.5', which is entirely consistent with the contemporary eyewitness testimony of a "long roll" present after the mounted fragments had been removed.

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Combined with John Gee's initial measurement of the outermost winding of the scroll of Horos (9.7 cm), the simple calculation of a spiral returns an upper-bound length of approximately 18-25 feet for the missing portion of the scroll.

Did you confirm Gee's measurement of 9.7 cm for the outer winding? Perhaps you would be good enough to post a photo, including a metric ruler, showing your audience exactly where the first winding begins and ends.

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Did you confirm Gee's measurement of 9.7 cm for the outer winding? Perhaps you would be good enough to post a photo, including a metric ruler, showing your audience exactly where the first winding begins and ends.

Sorry, that's not within the realm of my stewardship, although I understand that Professor Gee is planning a visit to SLC in advance of Chris Smith's date with the papyri in order to confirm his previous winding length measurements and fully document the methodology employed.

So you have something to look forward to!

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Sorry, that's not within the realm of my stewardship, although I understand that Professor Gee is planning a visit to SLC in advance of Chris Smith's date with the papyri in order to confirm his previous winding length measurements and fully document the methodology employed.

So you have something to look forward to!

That is excellent news Will.

You know, despite all the polemics, vitriol, incendiary rhetoric and ad hominem attacks, I really would like to come to agreement on the basic measurements. I'm sure it's no surprise to you that I've been working on this issue for the last several months and have been looking forward to Chris' examination date. I have invested a great deal of my personal time on this matter and want to see that the research is carried out properly. I think it would be a real shame to wind up with different people claiming different measurements and casting aspersions on the other parties. Simple measurements with a ruler are not something we should be arguing about!

I have learned some things during the course of my study that I think anyone who examines the papyri should be aware of. For example, you cannot determine winding lengths to any reasonable certainty or accuracy by guessing at crease marks or features of the lacunae. There is, rather, a completely objective mathematical way to do this. Additionally, there are certain fundamental measurements and key length scales that ought to be established and confirmed before a conclusive length determination can be made. I would like to work with Prof. Gee in this regard and would be happy to share my results with him if he's interested in a collaboration. I think it would serve everyone's interest if he and Chris took the same set of measurements and came to an agreement in this regard.

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I would like to work with Prof. Gee in this regard and would be happy to share my results with him if he's interested in a collaboration.

Agreed. Perhaps Dr. Gee should contact us so we can chat about methodologies and make sure we're all at the top of our games when we view the papyri.

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Agreed. Perhaps Dr. Gee should contact us so we can chat about methodologies and make sure we're all at the top of our games when we view the papyri.

Perhaps it would be best for you and Mortal Man to outline your ideas of proper methodology and the reasons for those choices first to send to Prof Gee rather than him contacting you to discuss it. Since neither of you have specialized in such things or even in related areas of Egyptology (unless I've not paid close enough attention which is certainly possible) it seems to me the default position is much more likely to be one that Prof Gee is already aware of the appropriate methods of measurements since this is part of his speciality and one he's been working in for years and the best approach therefore is for you two to present your own arguments for a certain approach rather than expecting some sort of collaboration up front to come up with some sort of combined effort.

I would not expect a cardiac surgeon to assume that someone not in the field--no matter how gifted or educated in another area--can contribute to his specific field of research until after that person has presented his 'credentials' (to demonstrate that his contributions will be more than just relaying the ideas of someone else that does work in the field) as well as his ideas that he believes will contribute something over and above what the surgeon already is aware of, especially if those concepts are gleaned from readings of the standard references in the field.

I am not saying that either of you do not have something to contribute, I'm just saying expecting Prof Gee to accept it based on discussions on a message board where he would have to devote considerable time in reading several threads made over the years is expecting somewhat too much. If you truly believe you have something new to inform him about, it seems to me you should be wiling to do the major work of preparing it in a simple, concise form that would be the least time and resource consuming for the good Prof.

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That is excellent news Will.

You know, despite all the polemics, vitriol, incendiary rhetoric and ad hominem attacks, I really would like to come to agreement on the basic measurements. I'm sure it's no surprise to you that I've been working on this issue for the last several months and have been looking forward to Chris' examination date. I have invested a great deal of my personal time on this matter and want to see that the research is carried out properly. I think it would be a real shame to wind up with different people claiming different measurements and casting aspersions on the other parties. Simple measurements with a ruler are not something we should be arguing about!

I have learned some things during the course of my study that I think anyone who examines the papyri should be aware of. For example, you cannot determine winding lengths to any reasonable certainty or accuracy by guessing at crease marks or features of the lacunae. There is, rather, a completely objective mathematical way to do this. Additionally, there are certain fundamental measurements and key length scales that ought to be established and confirmed before a conclusive length determination can be made. I would like to work with Prof. Gee in this regard and would be happy to share my results with him if he's interested in a collaboration. I think it would serve everyone's interest if he and Chris took the same set of measurements and came to an agreement in this regard.

Wow!

You're making my head spin with this split personality thing. First I'm a liar with no credibility, and now it's "let's all be friends and hold the ruler together."

It's hard to keep up.

In any case, all I've done is report the results of the measurements Brian and I performed. We attempted, to the best of our ability, to be completely and objectively scientific in everything we did. I recorded each step of the process. We methodically performed the measurements. I noted the results. We then repeated the process to confirm the first pass of results. You don't like those results. You're convinced they are flawed in some fashion. Well, I can only say that I saw that coming a mile away.

Unfortunately, it's hard to persuade a micrometer to tell you only what you want to hear.

As far as you guys joining hands with John to sing Kumbaya and measure papyri together, you're certainly free to contact him and propose such a thing. I will not venture to predict the outcome.

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Perhaps it would be best for you and Mortal Man to outline your ideas of proper methodology and the reasons for those choices first to send to Prof Gee rather than him contacting you to discuss it.

We have outlined our ideas and are prepared to share them with him; but since he quit responding to my emails, it would be necessary for a third party to contact him.

Since neither of you have specialized in such things or even in related areas of Egyptology (unless I've not paid close enough attention which is certainly possible) it seems to me the default position is much more likely to be one that Prof Gee is already aware of the appropriate methods of measurements since this is part of his speciality and one he's been working in for years and the best approach therefore is for you two to present your own arguments for a certain approach rather than expecting some sort of collaboration up front to come up with some sort of combined effort.

We're not talking about Egyptology. We're talking about measurements and mathematical calculations, which, though not terribly complicated, must be applied properly. I have "specialized in such things."

I would not expect a cardiac surgeon to assume that someone not in the field--no matter how gifted or educated in another area--can contribute to his specific field of research until after that person has presented his 'credentials' (to demonstrate that his contributions will be more than just relaying the ideas of someone else that does work in the field) as well as his ideas that he believes will contribute something over and above what the surgeon already is aware of, especially if those concepts are gleaned from readings of the standard references in the field.

I'd be happy to send him my CV upon request.

I am not saying that either of you do not have something to contribute, I'm just saying expecting Prof Gee to accept it based on discussions on a message board where he would have to devote considerable time in reading several threads made over the years is expecting somewhat too much. If you truly believe you have something new to inform him about, it seems to me you should be wiling to do the major work of preparing it in a simple, concise form that would be the least time and resource consuming for the good Prof.

I don't expect him to read anything on this message board. The "simple, concise form" has already been prepared if he's interested in looking at it.

On a broader note, I can see from Will's reponse that there is really no interest in arriving at the truth. The all-consuming desire to humiliate one's enemies appears to rule the day. I don't see this as a contest but apparently everyone else does. I suspect that the apologists on this board would be enormously dismayed if Prof. Gee agreed to our proposal, as if their favorite gladiator offered his combatants a truce, thereby spoiling a perfectly good fight.

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I suspect that the apologists on this board would be enormously dismayed if Prof. Gee agreed to our proposal, as if their favorite gladiator offered his combatants a truce, thereby spoiling a perfectly good fight.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I wouldn't feel that way. I've never heard any protests from anyone that I remember when critics who come to the FAIR conference engage scholars there in serious discussion, most onlookers make appreciative comments of various types in fact.

Considering what has been said about Will on this message board (whether you think he deserves it or not), it hardly surprises me he doesn't feel like or thinks it's appropriate acting as a message boy. I think he's set up to lose either way so minimum involvement is the best. If Will stays out of it, he cannot be blamed for tainting Prof. Gee's opinion or something along those lines.

I would suggest you and Chris get together first and collaborate on how you two would go about measurement. Then Chris can choose whether or not to write Prof. Gee not only about his own opportunity to view the fragments, but add in a summary of the conclusion you two have come to. Chris can ask for advice at the same time as giving it if so inclined.

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Then Chris can choose whether or not to write Prof. Gee not only about his own opportunity to view the fragments, but add in a summary of the conclusion you two have come to. Chris can ask for advice at the same time as giving it if so inclined.

Dr. Gee doesn't respond to my emails, either.

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I am confused, very easy to do in this subject. Both Chris and Mortal have had previous conversations with Prof Gee which the professor has apparently terminated and won't respond to you any more for some reason (known, unknown?).

Why would you think a collaboration would occur under those circumstances?

How did you suppose that Prof Gee would find out about the offer in the first place to contact you about it (though now it makes much more sense why you two feel that Prof. Gee should contact you rather then the other way around)?

Apparently Brent is aware of the value of the work you two can give and could give a decent 'testimonial' for it (so to speak), is he on 'talking' terms with the Professor (he appears to be on first name basis so there is hope, :P ) or at least not on "no talking" terms? Perhaps he could act as middleman without the suggestion of possibly tainting the results against Chris and MM that would likely haunt Will's efforts. Perhaps that is what Brent means about "considerable work behind the scenes"....? If so, I look forward to hearing about the result.

PS: due to the length of these conversations over time, I fully admit to losing track of who knows what or who and how even if I've read every post in every thread on the subject. It is not currently a subject that interests me enough to make cliff notes of the dialogue even if that is a wise idea before I add any comments.

PPS to Brent: life is actually going quite well with me and mine, I am pleased to say. Hope the same can be said for you and yours. ;)

PPPS: Sorry if there are typos, besides doing my usual of refusing to use my glasses for reading, I am using the much smaller screen of my husband's computer, my daughter having trashed my own a bit ago.

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