At the Coptic congress, which this year will be held in Claremont, California, I will speak about the discovery of Melito of Sardes’ homily on the baptism of Christ in a Sahidic papyrus manuscript. My paper is entitled “Recovering a Hitherto Lost Patristic Text: Greek and Coptic Vestiges of Melito of Sardes’ De Baptismo.” Here is the abstract:
“In this paper, I will argue that a fragmentary Sahidic papyrus manuscript featuring a homily on the baptism of Christ can be identified as Melito of Sardes’ De Baptismo. This early Christian writing has been considered to be lost with the sole exception of a quotation preserved in a Greek catena collection. In the first part of the paper, I will show that the only known Greek fragment of Melito’s De Baptismo finds a parallel in a Sahidic papyrus manuscript. In the second part, I will analyze the Coptic text and I will show that a number of similarities with the other works of Melito strengthen the hypothesis that the fragmentary papyrus actually contains his hitherto lost homily on the baptism of Christ.”
Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.
Excellent discovery! I look forward to hearing about what it adds to the picture of baptism in 2nd and early 3rd Christianity vis-a-vis Justin, Tertullian, and Ps-Hippolytus.
Very exciting – thank you!
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Congratulations on your interesting find! I wonder if it informs us of a preferred time for baptism, such as Easter or the eighth day, that might help in interpreting the Europos-Dura baptistery.
Thank you. I do not think it is clear from the context.
It has been only recently that I could get back to the text. I can now confirm that according to Melito’s De baptismo, the baptism of catechumens took place on the feast of Epiphany. I think this is quite interesting not least because it supports a similar Syriac tradition.
Hurray! It looks like good things come to those who do the hard work of looking!
I hope you translate it, too.
Very exciting, could you give a rough estimate on the word count in the papyrus?
No. But the Coptic manuscript has ca. 16 pages. In addition to these, there are some previously neglected fragments in Greek.
Please also consider doing an English translation!