In the collection of the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo there is one single fragment (15,5 cm by 18,5 cm at its largest points) of a Coptic parchment codex. Thanks to the keen eye of Alin Suciu it can now be identified as a fragment of White Monastery Codex ET, and as a hitherto unattested part of the Martyrdom of Apa Nahroou. Here is another fragment from the same codex:
Apart from a title page preserved in a Bohairic manuscript now in Leipzig, the Martyrdom of Apa Nahroou is attested, fragmentarily, only in Codex ET from the White Monastery (in Sahidic). This is a codex that was most probably manufactured at the Touton scriptorium in the Fayum in the tenth century and donated to the monks of the White Monastery in Upper Egypt.
The preserved fragment contains a part of the narration of the torture of Apa Nahroou at the hands of Roman emperor Diocletian, and seems to fit in as the first of the series of presently identified leaves, of which the other ten are to be found in Vienna, Paris, and Cairo. The text is a typical Coptic Martyrdom account, conforming to what Theofrid Baumeister, in his seminal work Martyr Invictus (1972), has termed the “koptischer Konsens.” The fragment in Oslo relates how Apa Nahroou quotes Heb 13:8 and how he prays for, and receives, the help of the archangel Michael.
For photographs, transcription, English translation, and further analysis of the fragment, see my forthcoming article “‘The Power of Michael Protected Him’: A New Fragment of the Coptic Martyrdom of Apa Nahroou,” in The Collection of Antiquities: Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo. Edited by Marina Prusac Lindhagen.
Hugo Lundhaug (Dr. art. University of Bergen, 2007) is currently Associate Professor of Patristics and the History of Religions at the Norwegian School of Theology (MF) in Oslo, Norway. He was recently the recipient of an ERC-Starting Grant for the research project New Contexts for Old Texts: Unorthodox Texts and Monastic Manuscript Culture in Fourth- and Fifth-Century Egypt (NEWCONT), a five-year project which will be undertaken at the University of Oslo, starting January 2012. His most important publication is the book Images of Rebirth: Cognitive Poetics and Transformational Soteriology in the Gospel of Philip and the Exegesis on the Soul (Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies 73; Leiden: Brill, 2010).
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