I just found out that in December 2009, Federico Bottigliengo presented in the bulletin Il collezionista ten fragments of Coptic manuscripts. Now, among the pictures published therein, someone can recognize the same White Monastery parchment folio which was sold in June 2009 by Sotheby’s in London. As “Il collezionista” is edited by Bolaffi in Turin, it becomes obvious that the Italian company is the one who purchased the ten fragments auctioned by Sotheby’s.
On the basis of the pictures published in “Il collezionista,” we can find out more about what I called the “Sotheby’s Coptic fragments.” For example, it is interesting to note that the pieces are not paleographically related, but rather they come from different codices. Beside the large fragment from Cyril of Alexandria’s Scholia on the Incarnation, other gems of Coptic literature are identifiable among them:
ps.-Cyril of Jerusalem, De Passione Christi, hom. 1 (CPG 3598; clavis coptica 0114)
ps.-Cyril of Jerusalem, De Cruce (CPG 3602; clavis coptica 0120)
ps.-Evodius of Rome, De Passione Christi (clavis coptica 0149)
It is noteworthy that all these works contain apocryphal stories related to the Passion of Christ. For example, ps.-Cyril of Jerusalem’s sermon on the Cross narrates the legendary circumstances in which the Empress Helena discovered the Cross upon which Jesus was crucified. The story is known in several version preserved in different ancient languages.
As all the fragments come from already known codices, let’s hope that the owner will make them available for research. Otherwise it would be a real loss.
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