The Coptic text forms part of BM Ms. Or. 5001, published by E. A. Wallis Budge in Coptic Homilies in the Dialect of Upper Egypt (London 1910); a Syriac text of more or less the same work, also published there, is contained in BM Ms. Add. 17,192. The title of the Coptic text makes it clear that the work has been attributed to Athanasius, the Syriac to his predecessor Alexander (313-328). Budge very sensibly and helpfully included both texts in his volume. My aim here is to present a translation of the Coptic text, which differs in minor points from Budge’s translation. It is fairly clear that, if both texts are translated from a Greek original, there must have been two versions of it: the Coptic text is approximately twice as long as the Syriac. Budge thinks that the Syriac is only a partial translation of the text. The title of the Syriac text, in addition to ‘soul’ and ‘body’, includes the words ‘on the Incarnation of Our Lord’. Budge’s page numbers are at the top of each section and the folio numbers in brackets. The Coptic Dictionary is cited simply by the name of the author, Crum.
Many early Christian texts display a certain anti-Semitism, and this is one of them. An interesting feature of the phenomenon here is that it ranges from the ingratitude of Jews in the pre-Messiah period to their hostility to Christ and his followers in the Messiah period.
Download the translation HERE.
Alin Suciu’s note: This homily is not genuinely Athanasian and has a very complicated literary history. While the Coptic redaction is attributed to Athanasius (CPG 2004, clavis coptica 0223), the Syriac version has survived under the name of Alexander of Alexandria. In Georgian, the text is attributed to both of them. To make things more complicated, a portion of the homily was interpolated in two pseudo-Chrysostomic texts (In sanctam Christi resurrectionem [CPG 3773, under the name of Epiphanius] and In ascensionem Domini [CPG 4533]). There is also a fragment of the homily in Greek, which is attributed to Melito of Sardes. Therefore, many scholars (including Tito Orlandi) have argued that the true author is actually Melito.