New Fragments of the Gospels in Fayyumic

The remnants of several Fayyumic Biblical codices which belonged to the White Monastery survive scattered in various modern collections. They were studied over the course of time by several scholars. For her part, Anne Boud’hors published some of the fragments which are kept in the National Library in Paris. They came from a parchment codex which seems to have contained at least the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and John. In an article which she published in the Mélanges Wolf-Peter Funk, Anne Boud’hors christened this manuscript “Codex B.”[1]

A few more fragments can be added to this codex. I am presenting them here briefly, but perhaps those interested in the Coptic versions of the New Testament will take the time to study them more closely.

The first one is a fragment kept in the National Library in Paris as 129(18), fol. 124.

This fragment contains the Gospel of John 17:26-18:10 in Fayyumic. Christian Askeland, who recently received his Ph.D. degree in Cambridge with a thesis on the Coptic versions of John, has promised that he will soon present the fragment more extensively.

It is interesting to note that it was bound in a miscellaneous volume which is supposed to contain fragments from the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles in Sahidic. Unfortunately, this kind of confusion is not unique. Enzo Lucchesi recognized in the same miscellany another fragment which actually contains a portion of the Sahidic Gospel of John.[2] This fragment of John, lost in the middle of other more or less apocryphal fragments, was even published by Eugène Revillout as part of his imaginary Gospel of the Twelve.

The papyrus collection of the National Library of Vienna has in its turn a couple of pieces torn from the same parchment codex. The two small fragments are inventoried as K 2722 and K 2724. Even if the paleographical data indicates that they came from the same Fayyumic manuscript, I am still not able to give their precise parallels. Hopefully, the identification will be made by someone who is familiar with the Coptic version of the Gospels.

[1] A. Boud’hors, “Réflexions  supplémentaires sur les principaux témoins fayoumiques de la Bible,” in L. Painchaud & P.-H. Poirier, Coptica – Gnostica – Manichaica. Mélanges offerts à Wolf-Peter Funk (BCNH. Séction ‘Etudes,’ 7; Québec: Les Presses de l’Université Laval. Louvain – Paris: Peeters, 2006) 81-105.

[2] E. Lucchesi, “D’un soi-disant Évangile (apocryphe) des douze Apôtres à l’Évangile (canonique) selon saint Jean,” Orientalia 52 (1983) 267.


About Alin Suciu

I am a researcher at the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities. I write mostly on Coptic literature, Patristics, and apocryphal texts.
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2 Responses to New Fragments of the Gospels in Fayyumic

  1. Dear Alin,
    Here are a couple preliminary guesses:
    2722 = Mark 9:14, ??
    2724 = Mat 8:9, 29-30
    The first is truly a guess. The second, I am only 75% sure of. Thanks for sharing this information!!
    Christian Askeland
    (I had access to verso images, and used the Diogenes search engine with the PHI Coptic database, for those interested. Naturally, one has to know a bit about the Fayumic dialect to shift to Sahidic forms.)

  2. Pingback: Guest Post: Christian Askeland on the Coptic Versions of the Gospel of John | Alin Suciu

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