1. The Bible

1.3. Coptic Bible

MS 193  


  2. BIBLE: 2 MACCABEES 5:27 - 7:41
MS 2649

MS in Sahidic on papyrus, Alexandria, Egypt, 3rd c., 52 ff. (-16), 15x15 cm, 2 columns, (10x12 cm), 11-18 lines in a bold large Coptic uncial, 3 decorated cartouches, text 5: single column, 12 lines.

Context: From the hoard known as the "Bodmer Papyri", consisting of 9 Greek papyrus scrolls, 22 papyrus codices and ca. 7 vellum codices in Greek and Coptic. These MSS are now mainly located in Bibliotheca Bodmeriana, Genève, and Chester Beatty Library, Dublin. They all belonged to the library of The Pachomian order, Faw Qibli (near Dishna), the world's first monastery and order. In the 7th c. the scrolls and codices from the library were hidden in a large jar during the Arabic conquest, and not found until 1952. MS 2337 supplies an important missing part of text 4.

Provenance: 1. Copied from exemplars in Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria (3rd c.); 2. Monastery of the Pachomian Order, Dishna, Egypt (4th-7th c.); 3. Buried in a jar in the sand (7th c.-1952); 4. Hasan Muhammad al-Samman, Abu Mana (1952); 5. Riyad Jirjis Fam, Dishna (1952); 6. Phocion J. Tano, Cairo (1952-); 7. Sultan Maguid Sameda, Cairo (until 1955); 8. University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi (1955-1981); 9. H.P. Kraus, New York (1981-83); 10. Vinsor T. Savery, Houston, Texas (Pax ex Innovatione Foundation, Vaduz, Liechtenstein) (1983-1988); 11. Sotheby's 6.12.1988:29. 41 fragments from the beginning of the codex, that came apart in 1952: 1.-6. As above; 7. Dr. Martin Bodmer, Genève (1952-1967); 8. Prof. William H. Willis, Durham, North Carolina (from 1967); 9. Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, "P. Duk. inv. C125" (until 1990), acquired by exchange in April 1990, and rejoined to the main codex June 1990.

Commentary: The earliest known complete text of the 2 books of the Bible, Jonah and 1 Peter. Of the latter there is also a Greek papyrus slightly later, ca. 300, from the same hoard, now in the Vatican. The present 1 Peter is copied from a Greek exemplar written before 2 Peter existed, i.e. ca. 60-130 AD. It is the single most important MS of 1 Peter. Texts 2 and 4 are also the earliest witnesses. Text 5 is unique. Probably the oldest Christian liturgical MS. One of the earliest extant MSS in codex form. The oldest book in private ownership.

Published: C.S.C.O. vol. 521: The Crosby-Schøyen Codex, MS 193 in The Schøyen Collection. Ed. James E. Goehring. Louvain, E. Peeters, 1990. A copy, bound with the documentation, was given to Bibliotheca Alexandrina by the Norwegian prime minister, March 1999. A copy of digital images was given to Bibliotheca Alexandrina, at the official inauguration 16 October 2002. Hans-Gerhard Bethge: Der Text des ersten Petrusbriefe im Crosby-Schøyen-Codex (MS 193 Schøyen Collection). Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, vol. 84, 1993, p.p. 255-267.

Exhibited: "Preservation for access: Originals and copies". On the occasion of the 1st International Memory of the World Conference, organized by the Norwegian Commission for UNESCO and the National Library of Norway, at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, 3 June - 14 July 1996.

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MS 2650  



MS in Mesokemic (Middle Egyptian or Oxyrhynchite dialect) on papyrus, Oxyrhynchus region, Egypt, 1st half of 4th c., 39 ff. (- ca. 6 ff.), 23x20 cm, single column, (18x14-16 cm), 25-28 lines in a fine regular Coptic uncial.

Context: MSS 2648, 2649, 2651 and 14 ff. of Isaiah (in Mesokemic, ca. 300) were found tipped in among the leaves of the present codex, which originally had ca. 45 ff.

Probably from the same hoard as the Chester Beatty papyri, now in Dublin: Chester Beatty Library.

Probably from the same hoard as the Chester Beatty papyri, now in Dublin: Chester Beatty Library.

Provenance: 1. Monastery in the Oxyrhynchus region, Egypt (4th c. - ca. 1930); 2. Antiquity dealer, Alexandria (ca. 1930); 3. Private collector, Zürich.

Commentary: The text opens at ch. 5:38 and goes more or less continuously to the end .The present codex is the earliest Matthew in any Coptic dialect. The 11 chapters, 6-9, 13-17, 22 and 28, and a great number of verses elsewhere, are in addition the earliest witnesses to these parts of the Bible. The text is unique, not following any Coptic nor Greek manuscripts known of Matthew.

MS 2650 - 1

Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Schenke in his editio princeps of the text, has named the manuscript Codex Schøyen, with the siglum Mae 2. (siglum Mae 1 being the Scheide Codex of 5th c.) His conclusions are that the text is not representing a free text transmission in relation to all the other extant Greek and Coptic manuscripts of Matthew, but that it is a correct translation of an entirely different Gospel of Matthew. There is only one other Gospel of Matthew known, the lost Hebrew Gospel of the Jewish Christians mentioned by the church fathers. This would have been the Hebrew exemplar of the Greek translation the present manuscript is based upon. Actually the famous statement by Papias that the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew was translated into Greek several times (Eusebius, hist. eccl. III, 39, 16), now come in a new light. Due to a series of textual differences between Codex Schøyen and the Canonical Gospel, it appears that both Gospels derive from different versions of the Hebrew Matthew. The consequence is that the relationship among the Synoptic Gospels has to be entirely re-evaluated, causing far-reaching and dramatic consequences for New Testament research.


MS 2650 - 2

Published: Hans-Martin Schenke: Das Matthäus-Evangelium in einer Variante des mittelägyptischen Koptish auf Papyrus (Codex Schøyen); in: Enchoria, Zeitschrift für Demotistik und Koptologie, Band 26, 2000, pp. 88-107, Tafel 12. Hans-Martin Schenke: Coptic Papyri, vol. I. Manuscripts in The Schøyen Collection series vol. 2, Jens Braarvig, Editor-in-chief. Oslo 2001. Wieland Willker: A textual Commentary on the Greek Gospels. Some notes on the Coptic Mt. Schøyen MS 2650 = mae-2. Internet article, based on Schenke's book. L'Évangile selon Matthieu d'apres le papyrus copte de la Collection Schøyen, analyse litteraire, by M.-É. Boismard, O.P., in Cahiers de la revue Biblique. Paris, J. Gabalda et Cie Editeurs, 2003. (Manuscripts in The Schøyen Collection series vol. 10.) Tgitze Baarda: Mt. 17:1-9 in “Codex Schøyen”: in: Novum Testamentum 46(2004), pp. 265-287.

Mentioned: Sergio Cingolani: Dizionario di critica testuale Nuovo Testamento. Milano, Edizioni Sao Paulo, 2008, p. 220.

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MS 114  
BIBLE: PSALMS 16:2 - 3; 16:9 - 11; 21:16 - 17; 21:24 - 25; 76:10 - 77:4; 77:36 - 79:9; 82:16 - 84:13; 85:17 - 88:35 MS 114

MS in Sahidic on vellum, Sohag, Egypt, ca. 400, 13 ff. + 6 fragmentary ff., 20x16 cm, single column, (15x11 cm), 27 lines in a very fine large upright Coptic uncial, text partly indented "per cola et commata", 2 large calligraphic initials.

Binding: Barking, Essex, 1992, brown-red morocco with Coptic tooling, wrap around strap, chain stitches on 3 sewing stations, by Aquarius.

Context: From a hoard of more than 9000 early Coptic leaves discovered by G. Maspero in 1883 at Deir el-Abiad, the site of the White Monastery near Sohag.

Most of the hoard is now in Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, but also in New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, Cambridge University Library and Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana.

Provenance: 1. The White Monastery, Deir el-Abiad near Sohag, Egypt (ca. 400-1883); 2. Maurice Nachman, Cairo (1930'ies); 3. 7+4 ff.: Guy Ladrière Paris (until 1988); 1 f.: André Jammes, Paris (until 1990); 4. 7 ff.: Sotheby's 21.6.1988:48; 4+1 ff.: Bruce Ferrini, Akron, Ohio, June, Nov. 1988 and Nov. 1990; 1 f.: Sotheby's 5.12.1995:28.

Commentary: A substantial part of a very early Coptic Psalter, written about 150 years after it was first translated from Greek. Unpublished.

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MS 1365  
BIBLE: ACTS 7:40 - 43; 11:24 - 28 MS 1365

MS in Sahidic on vellum, Egypt, ca. 500, 2 ff., 7x6 cm, single column, (6,0x4,5 cm), 14-15 lines in Coptic uncial.

Binding: Barking, Essex, 1991, quarter morocco gilt folding case, by Aquarius.

Provenance: 1. Sotheby's 18.6.1991:66.

Commentary: Chapter 11:25 reads Paulos, against all Greek and Coptic witnesses which have Saulos. Only from 13:9 Paulos appears. From a miniature Coptic codex, slightly larger than the vellum Mani codex, ca. 400, in Greek (Köln P. Colon. inv. 4780) "the smallest book preserved from the Antiquity", 4,5x3,8 cm (3,5x2,4 cm).

Published: Hans-Gerhard Bethge: Neue Bibeltexte: Fragmente koptischer Handscriften - Ein Werkstattbericht. In: Ägypten und Nubien in spätantiker und christlicher Zeit, Akten des 6. Internationalen Koptologenkongresses Münster, 20-26. Juli 1996: Band 2: Schrifttum, Sprache und Gedankenwelt. Wiesbaden, Reichert Verlag, 1999. (Sonderdruck.)

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