Guest Post: Anthony Alcock – English Translation of the Coptic Sahidic version of the Apophthegmata Patrum

Here is Anthony Alcock’s English translation of the Coptic Sahidic version of the Apophthegmata Patrum. In 2008, I started to work for a Romanian edition of the Sahidic apophthegms. My edition together with the Greek and Latin parallels can be found here.

Dr. Alcock translated the text published by Marius Chaîne, Le manuscrit de la version copte en dialecte sahidique des “Apophthegmata Patrum” (Bibliothèque d’études coptes 6; Cairo: Imprimerie de l’IFAO, 1960). Chaîne edited and translated into French the apophthegms found in a 10th century fragmentary Sahidic manuscript from the Monastery of Apa Shenoute, Sohag.

Other leaves of the same parchment codex were published later in Alla Elanskaya, The Literary Coptic Manuscripts in the A. S. Pushkin State Fine Arts Museum in Moscow (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 18; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994). There is an additional fragment of this manuscript identified by Enzo Lucchesi in his article “Un petit complément au manuscrit de la version copte en dialecte sahidique des ‘Apophthegmata Patrum’, in U. Zanetti, E. Lucchesi (eds.), Aegyptus Christiana. Mélanges d’hagiographie égyptienne et orientale dédiés à la mémoire du P. Paul Devos Bollandiste (Cahiers d’orientalisme, 25; Geneva: P. Cramer, 2004) 163-164. I identified an unpublished fragment of the same codex of the apophthegms, which is kept in Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.

K 321 B Verso MONB.EG Apophthegmata PatrumFragments of another Sahidic codex of the Apophthegmata Patrum were published by Paul E. Kahle in his Bala’izah. Coptic Texts from Deir el-Bala’izah in Upper Egypt (London: Oxford University Press, 1954) vol. 1: 416-423. This is a papyrus manuscript which must be considerably older than the parchment codex from the Monastery of Shenoute.

Finally, I identified a fragment from a third manuscript of the apophthegms in Sahidic on this blog. This is University of Pennsylvania Museum, E 16395, a single parchment fragment written on two columns.

It would be nice to see all these fragments pieces together in a new edition of the Sahidic Apophthegmata Patrum.

Alin Suciu

Dr. Alcock’s translation:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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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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One Response to Guest Post: Anthony Alcock – English Translation of the Coptic Sahidic version of the Apophthegmata Patrum

  1. ascyltos says:

    Thanks for the post, Alin! Could you say a few more words about the University of Toronto fragment? How large is it? Which sayings does it contain?

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