An Unusual Sahidic Lectionary Manuscript

Under the siglum sa 297L, Schmitz and Mink’s list of the Sahidic New Testament manuscripts mentions a number of fragments from a lectionary which belonged the Monastery of Shenoute, i.e. the White Monastery. Schüssler’s Biblia Coptica designates the same manuscript as 818L. Although the script has variously been dated to the 9th or 10th century, I would rather opt, on paleographical grounds, for an 8th century dating.

Here are the known fragments of this codex:

London, British Library, Or. 3578B, f. 21

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Copte 129(21), f. 5-8

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Copte 132(3), f. 180

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Copte 133(1), 51, 51a-b

Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, K 9648

Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, K 9673b

And a few random photos of some of the fragments (sorry for their bad quality):

220 no sigla9201 no sigla9045Although scholars have sometimes quoted this lectionary, I think no one has remarked until now that it represents something of an oddity: as far as I am aware, it is the only Sahidic manuscript which has three columns of text on a page.

There are Greek manuscripts written in three columns (Vaticanus) or even four (Sinaiticus). I know that this is typical also for Syriac and some Ethiopic manuscripts. However, sa 297L stands out as the only example of a Coptic manuscript with more than two columns per page.

I am not sure why the scribe decided to organize the page in this way. Does it have something to do with the exemplar he used? In any case, this is certainly something strange enough to be worth noting.

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The Vossen Collection of Coptic Manuscripts

On June 21, 2016, Tom Vossen, an ancient coins dealer based in Kerkrade, the Netherlands, sent me photographs of five Coptic manuscript fragments which are in his possession. Vossen said that he purchased the fragments ten years ago from a British coins dealer at a coin fair in Trier.

I introduce here the five Vossen fragments in order to make this collection known to a wider public. For future editors of Coptic texts it is good to know that these manuscripts exist.

Upon examination, it appeared that all five fragments, designated by their owner as m1-m5, are parchment. They are written in the Sahidic dialect of Coptic, the literary language of Upper Egypt in the first Christian millennium. However, paleographical features suggest that all fragments came from manuscripts which were produced in the scriptorium of Touton, situated in Middle Egypt, in the Fayyum oasis.

There is no indication that these fragments belonged to the famous library of the Monastery of Shenoute, or the White Monastery, near Sohag, our most important source of Sahidic manuscripts. None of them connects paleographically and codicologically with any of the known manuscripts from the Monastery of Shenoute.

The fragments can be attributed to three different codices.

  1. m1-m2

m1a m1bm2a m2b

These two fragments belonged to the same manuscript. They feature an encomium on the martyr Theodore the General, attributed to Theodore of Antioch (clavis coptica 0381). This text was published according to a Bohairic manuscript in the Vatican by Eric Otto Winstedt,[1] and republished by Giuseppe Balestri and Henri Hyvernat in their collection of Coptic acts of the martyrs.[2]

A fragment kept today in the Vatican (Vat copt. 111, f. 119)[3] and several others which are in the Rijksmuseum in Leiden (F1976/4.5-8) belonged to the same codex as Vossen’s fragments. Interestingly, m1 attaches to one of the Leiden fragments.

299The Rijksmuseum in Leiden purchased the fragments in 1976 from the Dutch antiquity dealer Karl Johannes Möger. Were the Vossen fragments also handled at a certain point by Möger? We do not know.

2. m3

m3bm3aThis fragment is too small to allow identification, or at least I have not been able to do so.

2. m4-m5

m4a m4b m5a m5bThese two fragments, which belonged to the same manuscript, offer portions of an apocryphal text on the apostles (clavis coptica 0067), attributed to a fictitious author called Bachios of Maiuma, who is said to be a disciple of Cyril of Jerusalem. The text is known to survive in two other Sahidic manuscripts from the Monastery of Shenoute, both fragmentary (MONB.DH and another codex which has not received a CMCL siglum). The text has been published by Françoise Morard in a volume of essays dedicated to François Bovon.[4]

The Vossen fragment m5 reveals some different readings compared to the text edited by Morard. Furthermore, fragment m4 offers a completely new portion of the text, which does not have a parallel in the other two manuscripts.

 

[1] E.O. Winstedt, Coptic texts on Saint Theodore, the general, St. Theodore the Eastern, Chamoul and Justus, London, Williams & Norgate, 1910, pp. 1-72.

[2] G. Balestri and H. Hyvernat, Acta Martyrum vol. 2, Paris, Imprimerie Nationale, 1924, pp. 90-156.

[3] N.B.: This is not one of the Borgia fragments from the Monastery of Shenoute, but it was integrated to the Vatican collection much later, in 1974; see. D. V. Proverbio, “Additamentum Sinuthianum. Nuovi frammenti dal Monastero Bianco in un codice copto della Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana,” Rendiconti Accad. Lincei, Sc. Morali, s. 9, vol. 12, (Rome 2001) pp. 409-417.

[4] Françoise Morard, “Homélie copte sur les apôtres au Jugement Dernier,” in David H. Warren et al. (eds.), Early Christian Voices in Texts, Traditions and Symbols. Essays in Honor of François Bovon, Boston – Leiden, E.J. Brill, 2003, pp. 417-430.

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Guest Post: Anthony Alcock – Archellites

Anthony Alcock has translated into English a Sahidic poem about Archellites the anchorite, edited by Hermann Junker in his Koptische Poesie. Download his translation HERE.

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Report on the International Conference “Shenoute and the Bible” (Göttingen, May 17-21, 2016)

On May 17-21, 2016, the Coptic research group coordinated by Heike Behlmer (Seminar für Ägyptologie und Koptologie, Universität Göttingen) hosted in Göttingen the international conference “Shenoute and the Bible.” The conference was organized on the occasion of the annual meeting of the team that is producing the first critical edition of the works of Shenoute, which this year took place in Göttingen. This international team of scholars is coordinated by Stephen Emmel (Institut für Ägyptologie und Koptologie, Universität Münster). “Shenoute and the Bible” was sponsored and funded by the DFG-Sonderforschungsbereich 1136 “Bildung und Religion,” one of whose projects examines the re-use of the Bible in the works of Shenoute.

Besides the workshops on the critical editions and the translations of Shenoute’s works, the conference comprised a number of presentations, given by the members of the Shenoute team and of the Coptic projects currently hosted by the Göttingen University and Academy. For a complete list of the papers and speakers, see this post.

IMG_4735

I would like to highlight just a few of the most important moments of the conference. On the first day, May 17, took place the public showcase “Window onto Egyptian Monasticism: Shenoute: 4th/5th century abbot and eminent Coptic writer,” during which Stephen Emmel, Bentley Layton (Yale University), Frederik Wisse, and myself spoke about Shenoute and his monastery.

The following day, May 18, Frank Feder (Göttingen Academy) and Ulrich Schmid (Göttingen Academy) introduced our project “Digitale Gesamtedition und Übersetzung des koptisch-sahidischen Alten Testaments,” which is hosted by the Göttingen Academy since January 2015. The evening of the same day, we visited the manuscript collection of the Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen, where the director, Johannes Mangei, showed us the Coptic and Copto-Arabic codices brought by Heinrich Brugsch from Wadi Natrun in 1870.

On May 19, Martin Tamcke had a public lecture entitled “Von ‘Wir begannen, die Anachoreten in einem anderen Licht zu sehen’ zu ‘Jedermann braucht etwas Wüste’, Erhart Kästners (1904–1974) Zeltbuch von Tumilat und die Kopten.”

Finally, particularly interesting were the papers delivered by Diliana Atanassova (Göttingen Academy) on the liturgical manuscripts from the White Monastery, and by So Miyagawa (Universität Göttingen) and Kirill Bulert (MPI für Biophysikalische Chemie, Göttingen) on some remarkable results of the use of OCR software for digitizing Coptic (including manuscripts!). We also heard about a new and exciting manuscript discovery: Sebastian Richter (Freie Universität Berlin) spoke about a Sahidic papyrus fragment which seems to contain an early (anti?-)Origenist dialogue, which has surfaced recently in the collection of Leipzig University Library. The fragment has been edited and translated into English by Richter, and will soon be published in a collective volume. We look forward to finding out more about his discovery.

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Forthcoming: Shenoute and the Bible, International Conference, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, 17–21 May 2016

1

Shenoute and the Bible
International Conference
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
17–21 May 2016

sponsored by:

2in conjunction with:

Critical Edition of the Works of Shenoute, Annual Meeting (“Shenoute 2016”)

Venue:

Tagungszentrum an der Sternwarte, Geismar Landstr. 12, 37083 Göttingen, Meeting Room 3 (except where noted otherwise in the program, or as announced during the meeting)

Tuesday 17 May
9.00–12.00:
• Heike Behlmer: Welcome, introductions, logistics
• Stephen Emmel: Meeting program, progress report
• Progress on the Critical Edition of the Works of Shenoute. Presentations by Tito Orlandi, Bentley Layton, Heike Behlmer, Frederik Wisse, Anne Boud’hors, David Brakke, and Zlatko Pleše

14.00–17.00:
• Stephen Emmel: Workshop on the critical editions and the translations of Shenoute’s
works (1st and initial session)

18.00–20.00 (Tagungszentrum, Meeting Room 1, “Großer Seminarraum”):
Showcase: Window onto Egyptian Monasticism
Schenute: Klostervorsteher und bedeutender koptischer Schriftsteller des 4./5. Jh. –
Shenoute: 4th/5th century abbot and eminent Coptic writer
Welcome address by the Sprecher des Sonderforschungsbereichs “Bildung und Religion”, Peter Gemeinhardt, Professor of Church History at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
• Stephen Emmel: “Schenute (ca. 348–465): koptischer Mönch, Klostervorsteher,
Schriftsteller”
• Bentley Layton: “The Structure of Monastic Life in Shenoute’s Monastery”
• Alin Suciu: “The Library of Shenoute’s Monastery: Center of Monastic Knowledge and
Culture”
• Frederik Wisse: “Shenoute and the Bible”

Wednesday 18 May
9.00–12.00:
• Ariel Shisha-Halevy: “On Puns, Alliteration and Paronomasy in Shenoute”
• David Brakke: “Making Shenoute an Author: Christian Literature in the Age of Lists”
14.00–16.00 (Lagarde-Haus, Friedländer Weg 11):
• Jürgen Horn: “Shenoute’s Importance in the History of Research on the Coptic Septuagint”
• Frank Feder et al., Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen: Presentation of the project “Digitale Gesamtedition und Übersetzung des koptisch-sahidischen Alten Testaments”
16:30-18:30 (Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen, Historisches Gebäude, Papendiek 14):
• Visit to the manuscript collection of the Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen: codices brought by Heinrich Brugsch from Wadi Natrun in 1870

Thursday 19 May
9.00–12.00:
• Sebastian Richter: “Recent Developments and Achievements of the ‘Database and Dictionary of Greek Loanwords in Coptic’ Project”
• Anne Boud’hors: “Some Thoughts about the Category of Pseudo-Shenoutean Texts”
• Frederik Wisse: “Canon 7, work 8, O Man: Introduction, Text, and Translation”

14.00–17.00:
• Sebastian Richter: “A Fragment of an (Anti?-)Origenist Dialogue on a 4th/5th-Century Papyrus Leaf from the Papyrus Collection of the Leipzig University Library”
• Stephen Emmel: Workshop on the critical editions and the translations of Shenoute’s works (2nd session)
18.00–21.00 (Hörsaal Theologicum T01):
• Ringvorlesung “Imaginiert und real, erschaut und erdacht: Christen in Ägypten und literarische Werke von und zu ihnen”
Martin Tamcke: “Von ‘Wir begannen, die Anachoreten in einem anderen Licht zu sehen’ zu ‘Jedermann braucht etwas Wüste’, Erhart Kästners (1904–1974) Zeltbuch von
Tumilat und die Kopten” (public lecture at 18.15)
followed by (from appr. 19.30: Foyer of the Kulturwissenschaftliches Zentrum, Heinrich-Düker-Weg 14)
• Reception; opportunity to visit the Seminar für Ägyptologie und Koptologie (Please RSVP by May 9 to: aegypten@uni-goettingen.de)

Friday 20 May
9.00–12.00:
Presentations by members of Göttingen projects on Shenoute and the Bible (SFB 1136 “Bildung und Religion” Teilprojekt B 05; KELLIA “Koptische/Coptic Electronic Language and Literature International Alliance”; “Digitale Gesamtedition und Übersetzung des koptisch-sahidischen Alten Testaments”)

• Uwe Sikora: Survey and recommendations on digital metadata standards, with particular regard to (Coptic) manuscripts and other objects
• So Miyagawa and Heike Behlmer: Processing non-biblical texts (e.g. Besa and Shenoute) for the Old Testament Virtual Reading Room and using text re-use software for detecting and describing (biblical) intertextuality
• Kirill Bulert and So Miyagawa: Optical character recognition (OCR) software for digitizing Coptic
• Diliana Atanassova: The White Monastery typika

14.00–17.00:
• Stephen Emmel: Workshop on the critical editions and the translations of Shenoute’s works (3rd session)

Saturday 21 May
9.00–12.00:
• Stephen Emmel: Workshop on the critical editions and the translations of Shenoute’s works (4th and final session)
• Heike Behlmer: Closing remarks and farewells

Speakers:
Dr Diliana Atanassova, Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen
Prof. Heike Behlmer, Universität Göttingen
Dr Anne Boud’hors, CNRS, Paris
Prof. David Brakke, Ohio State University, Columbus
Kirill Bulert, MPI für Biophysikalische Chemie, Göttingen
Prof. Stephen Emmel, Universität Münster
Dr Frank Feder, Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen
Dr Jürgen Horn, Hamburg
Prof. em. Bentley Layton, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
So Miyagawa, Universität Göttingen (SFB 1136)
Prof. em. Tito Orlandi, Rome/Hamburg
Prof. Zlatko Pleše, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Prof. em. Ariel Shisha-Halevy, Toronto
Prof. Tonio Sebastian Richter, Freie Universität Berlin
Uwe Sikora, Universität Göttingen
Dr Alin Suciu, Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen
Prof. em. Frederik Wisse, Coldstream, British Columbia

Contact:
Seminar für Ägyptologie und Koptologie, Universität Göttingen, Heinrich-Düker-Weg 14, 37073 Göttingen
Ph.: +49 551 3924400 Email: aegypten@uni-goettingen.de

Download the programme as PDF.

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Forthcoming: Window onto Egyptian monasticism. Shenoute: 4th/5th century abbot and eminent Coptic writer

Dienstag, 17.5. 2016 um 18 Uhr im Tagungszentrum an der Sternwarte, Raum 1 – Großer Seminarraum

Schaufenster/Showcase

Schenute: Klostervorsteher und bedeutender koptischer Schriftsteller des 4./5. Jh.   –   Shenoute: 4th/5th century abbot and eminent Coptic writer
Kurzvorträge:

a.   Stephen Emmel: “Schenute (ca. 348–465): koptischer Mönch, Klostervorsteher, Schriftsteller”

b.   Bentley Layton: “The Structure of Monastic Life in Shenoute’s Monastery”

c.   Alin Suciu: “The Library of Shenoute’s Monastery: Center of Monastic Knowledge and Culture”

d.   Frederik Wisse: “Shenoute and the Bible”

poster_showcase_shenoutePoster: Julien Delhez & So Miyagawa

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Ewa Wipszycka, The Alexandrian Church. People and Institutions

New book by one of the greatest historians of the Egyptian church:

The Raphael Taubenschlag Foundation, Department of Papyrology of Warsaw University and Chair of Roman Law and the Law of Antiquity of Warsaw University are pleased to announce the release of The Journal of Juristic Papyrology, Supplement XXV

Ewa Wipszycka, The Alexandrian Church. People and Institutions

ISBN 978-8393842544, hardcover, 500 pp, maps and charts. Price: 93 EUR; May & June special 20% discount: 74,4 EUR
http://www.taubenschlagfoundation.org/ksiazki/jjp_s_25.html

… a description of the hierarchical Church, its framework and machinery. The word ‘description’ is somehow too narrow to express what I would like to present, for my ambition is to show how the ecclesiastical institutions functioned. What I aim at is a picture of the Church ‘in motion’. I will try to discover the mechanisms of cooperation between the three levels of the hierarchic pyramid: the patriarch and his curia, the bishops, and the remaining clergy subordinate to the latter.
I believe that I am able to sketch (at least in part) the mentality of the members of hierarchical Church, to reconstruct the procedure of appointment of bishops and to give an account of the creation of the network of churches.
(…) My intellectual adventure with the history of the Church began with research on ecclesiastical economy, incomes and the manner of their administration, expenditures, and the material status of the clergy. The choice of these subjects was absolutely natural to me, since my academic education had provided me with a solid background for tackling such issues; I had also learnt much while preparing my doctoral dissertation on the textile industry of Roman Egypt. In spite of having enough reasons to find the results of my previous research satisfactory, I did not want to explore the subject any farther. It was late antique Egypt that captivated me – a fascination I owe to my French papyrology teacher, Roger Rémondon. Within this realm I found the Church and monasticism particularly intriguing.
(from the Preface)

Table of contents
Preface . 3
Chapter One . 9
Church historians – 10. Historians of the Alexandrian Church – 22. Normative texts – 27.
Church archives of documents on papyrus – 34 (The archive of Abraham – 34. The archive of Pisentius – 37).
Chapter Two
The origins of monarchic episcopate in Egypt . 43
The bishops of Alexandria – 43. The bishops of Egypt – 60.
Chapter Three
The Great Persecution in Egypt: new sources, new hypotheses . 75
New sources – 75. The beginnings of the Great Persecution: an attempt at a reconstruction -76. The number of victims of the Great Persecution in Egypt – 92. Appendix
A: Chronology of the history of Christian Egypt in the times of the Tetrarchy and Constantine – 95. Appendix B: Victims of persecutions in Egypt according to Eusebius – 98. Appendix C: On the governor’s jurisdiction during the Great Persecution in Egypt – 99.
Chapter Four
The institutional church of Egypt AD 325-700: an overview . 107
Chapter Five
The episcopal elections . 127
Introduction – 127. The elections of bishops in the Egyptian chora – 129. The elections of
bishops in the Pentapolis – 146. The elections of the patriarch and their rules – 149. Conflictual elections of patriarchs -154.
Chapter Six
Constantine’s policy towards the church. The subvention for clergy, church-building programme, fiscal privileges . 171
Chapter Seven
The payroll of the clergy . 195
Chapter Eight
The economy of the Alexandrian patriarchate in the Lives of John the Almsgiver . 209
Chapter Nine
The people of the Alexandrian patriarch . 237
Chapter Ten
The patriarch of Alexandria and his bishops . 271
Chapter Eleven
The bishop and his clergy . 305
The ordination of clergy – 308. Requirements concerning the members of the clergy – 321. Means of disciplinary punishment at the bishop’s disposal – 324. The clerics’ preparation to fulfil their liturgical functions – 325. What do we know and what do we not know about the  liturgical service? – 327. The hierarchical order in the clergy – 330. Appendix A: Chosen examples of churches in Egyptian cities, towns, and villages – 335. Appendix B: Lighting of
the churches’ interior (by Tomasz Górecki) – 343.
Chapter Twelve
The bishop’s philanthropic activity . 349
Chapter Thirteen
The church treasures of Byzantine Egypt . 365
Chapter Fourteen
Churches in a city: The case of Ptolemais in Cyrenaica . 377
Character of the basilicas of Ptolemais and interpretation of their location in the city – 380. Buildings associated with the churches – 388.
Final remarks . 415
Appendix
Alexandrian bishops from the patriarchate of Demetrius to the end of the seventh century . 439
Bibliography . 441
Indices . 467

JJP Suppl. xxv (Wipszycka) okladka-kopia

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