What follows are drafts of a text and translation of the gnomes transmitted in the Coptic tradition with material relating to the Council of Nicaea.
These are a work in progress. Beyond a great deal of checking, which needs to be undertaken, I intend to provide an introduction and commentary. I also suspect that there are some fragments of this work elsewhere among the Turin papyri, which will in due course be added.
My interest and expertise is in the church order tradition and the history of liturgy; that is the reason for my engagement with this text. I am not a Coptologist. The work in progress has an intended audience of students of early Christian literature and church orders. However, I wish to provide a text with my discussion of the document for this audience so that, on the basis that the existing editions are hard to find, those who had some knowledge of Coptic might be enabled to check the text if there was something of particular concern. The main purpose of the work is to provide a translation with introduction and commentary with a view to making this text better known and to advance the debate regarding church orders by allowing us to map these “gnomes” as part of that tradition.
However, in undertaking the task of providing the text I have noted major variations between the versions. The text is based on T (see the sigla below) on the grounds that this is the most complete of the texts, and possibly the earliest. However, there are occasions where I have preferred a version to T. Lammeyer (see the sigla below) has done the same very thoroughly, noting all variations between P and the other versions, but because of the arrangement of his work it is hard to use.
In view of my own limitations in this regard I would be very grateful to anyone with proper expertise in Coptic who might take time to look at these drafts and to alert me to the many errors which no doubt lurk below. Updated versions will be posted at intervals.
Alistair C. Stewart
B: Borgia collection, 239, 73-84, now in the Museo archeologico nazionale di Napoli. Published by Eugène Revillout, Le Concile de Nicée d’après les textes Coptes: nouvelle série de documents (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1876)
Lammeyer: v. sub P.
P: Bibliotheque nationale Copte-sahidique 129 14/75-82. Edited by Joseph Lammeyer Die sogenannte Gnomen des Concils von Nicaea: ein homiletischer Traktat des 4 Jahrhunderts (Beirut: np, 1912)
Revillout: v. sub T.
Rossi: v sub T.
T: Museo Egizio di Torino, cat. 63000. Edited by Eugène Revillout, Le Concile de Nicée d’après les textes Coptes: première série de documents (Paris: Maisonneuve, 1873) and again by Francesco Rossi, Trascizione di alcuni testi copti tratti dai papiri del Museo Egizio di Torino (Turin: Loescher, 1884).
Note: Rossi’s transcription of T is far superior to that of Revillout, who seems to have introduced several errors and seems to have been able to read far less than Rossi. Rossi provides an Italian translation, and Revillout a partial translation into French. When publishing B Revillout was content to reprint his translation of T. Lammeyer provides a German translation of P, supplemented by a translation of T where P is defective.