Abstract of my paper for the 11th International Coptic Congress

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.”


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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13 Responses to Abstract of my paper for the 11th International Coptic Congress

  1. mgb8n says:

    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.

  2. Roger says:

    Very exciting – thank you!

  3. Pingback: Has the lost “De baptismo” of Melito of Sardis been rediscovered in Coptic? at Roger Pearse

  4. 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.

    • Alin Suciu says:

      Thank you. I do not think it is clear from the context.

    • Alin Suciu says:

      Dear Stephen,

      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.

  5. Hurray! It looks like good things come to those who do the hard work of looking!

    I hope you translate it, too.

  6. Tom says:

    Very exciting, could you give a rough estimate on the word count in the papyrus?

  7. Neunder says:

    Please also consider doing an English translation!

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