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Month: September, 2014

Photographs of White Monastery Fragments on Gallica Website

Alin Suciu

It was a nice surprise to discover a few days ago that the National Library in Paris put up on the Gallica website photographs of some of the Sahidic parchment fragments in their possession. More precisely, they have uploaded until now good quality reproductions of BnF Copte 161(6), fol. 36-44. It’s not much yet but it’s a start.

I suspect that the fragments included in BnF Copte 161(6) were donated to the library in Paris by the papyrologist Seymour de Ricci. It appears that they came from the Monastery of Apa Shenoute (aka the White Monastery) in Upper Egypt.

As most of the fragment available at Gallica have not been identified until now, here are some hints that may be helpful:


fol. 36 = Life of Shenoute attributed to Besa (BHO 1074-1078; clavis coptica 0461). I identified this fragment in an article to be published in

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Coptica Update: New Article on Coptic Manuscript Fragment (H. Förster, ZAC 16 [2013])

Alin Suciu

The latest issue of the Zeitschrift für antikes Christentum features the article of Dr. Hans Förster (University of Vienna), “‘Siehe, Magier kamen aus dem Osten’: Eine Paraphrase der Magier-Perikope aus dem Matthäusevangelium (Mt 2,1-12).” If your university has a subscription to ZAC, you can read the article here.

Our colleague published a parchment fragment in the National Library in Vienna (call number: K 9118), which he believes to be unidentified.

K 9118v(source of the photo)

The abstract of the article says:

A Coptic paraphrasing of one of the Gospels from the White Monastery contains a narration based on the so-called magi pericope from the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 2:1-12). It focuses this story onto the fight between Herod, a worldly King, and Jesus as the “King of Heaven.” This strengthens the parallels between the magi pericope and the Passion. Herod is identified with Pontius Pilate, and the phrase:…

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More Coptic Fragments from an Encomium on the Apostles (Ps-Severian of Gabala, Encomium in XII apostolos)

Alin Suciu

In this post I drew attention to a Coptic encomium on the twelve apostles, attributed to Severian of Gabala (CPG 4281; clavis coptica 0331). Sever Voicu published, in the journal Apocrypha, an extensive and well-documented article concerning the apocryphal traditions related to the apostles, which appear in the encomium of Ps-Severian.[1]

The encomium on the twelve apostles is known to survive in the Sahidic dialect of Coptic (Recension A) and in Arabic (Recension B). The Arabic recension, preserved in two manuscripts, one in the Vatican and the other in the Coptic Museum in Cairo, is radically different from the Coptic version. The latter was edited and translated into English by Michael E. Foat after a Sahidic manuscript from the Monastery of the Archangel Michael, situated near Hamouli, in the Fayyum oasis.[2] In 2005, Davide Righi published a fresh edition of the Hamouli manuscript together with the editio…

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Bibliographies: Coptic Studies

Ancient World Open Bibliographies

The following have been added to the Zotero Group for Ancient World Open Bibliographies and the Ancient World Open Bibliographies Wiki.

Coptic Studies

First Millennium Bibliography [for Coptic Studies]
Heike Belmer, Seminar für Ägyptologie und Koptologie, University of Gottingen.
Updated 13 December 2011.
“An overview of Egyptian history and culture in the First Millennium CE.” This bibliography is not intended to be comprehensive, but to give a general orientation to the topic.

Selected Bibliography of the Coptic Language
Heike Belmer, Seminar für Ägyptologie und Koptologie, University of Gottingen.
Updated 13 December 2011.
“A bibliography of the Coptic language with a focus on the Sahidic dialect.”

Bibliography on Coptic Dialects
Heike Belmer, Seminar für Ägyptologie und Koptologie, University of Gottingen.
Updated 13 December 2011.
“A bibliography of the other regional forms of the Coptic language excluding Sahidic Coptic.”

Coptic Art and Archaeology Bibliography
Heike Belmer, Seminar…

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Nitria and Scetis: H. G. Evelyn White,The Monasteries of the Wadi ‘N Natrun

Alin Suciu

The valuable Syriac documents which came from the Monastery of the Virgin in the Wadi el-Natrun, are still labeled sometimes as “Nitrian.” Similarly, the dialect of the Coptic manuscripts from St. Macarius’ Monastery, situated in the same desert, is called “Nitrian Bohairic.” This label seems to imply that the two monasteries are located in the desert of Nitria.

However, neither the Monastery of the Syrians, nor that of St. Macarius is situated there! The assumption that Nitria and Wadi el-Natrun would be one and the same place is wrong, being based on a topographical confusion.

The ancient name of the Natron Valley, the source of the documents mentioned above, was “Scetis.” While the first community in Nitria goes back to Amoun, the founder of Scetis was Macarius the Egyptian. These two settlements, along with Kellia, formed the three important monastic communities situated to the West of the Nile Delta.


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Singing with Angels

Christine Sunderland

330px-Guido_Reni_031Today is the eve of the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, or “Michaelmas.” Michaelmas marks the end of harvest, the beginning of fall and the shortening of days.

I believe in angels. They have fluttered through my life, ordering and arranging, guarding and nudging, strengthening and leading. And so today in church I was especially pleased to rediscover this marvelous hymn, #122, sung to a traditional Irish melody:

Angels and ministers, spirits of grace,
Friends of the children, beholding God’s face,
Moving like thought to us through the beyond,
Moulded in beauty, and free from our bond!
Messengers clad in the swiftness of light,
Subtle as flame, as creative in might,
Helmed with the truth and with charity shod,
Wielding the wind of the purpose of God!
Earth’s myriad creatures live after their kind,
Dumb, in the life of the body confined;
You are pure spirit…

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