Oxford Patristics Conference – Thursday (Contd 3)

I then went to hear Hugo Lundhaug talk about Origenism in 5th century Upper Egypt: Shenoute of Atripe and the Nag Hammadi codices.  This was fascinating, and discussed two texts.  The first was a letter from Dioscorus of Alexandria, telling people — and Shenoute in particular — to hunt out heretical books associated with Origenism and other heresies in the monasteries of Panopolis.  The second was a text by Shenoute himself, which does not mention Origenism but likewise is interested in books.

Dr L. made the interesting point that we find in the Nag Hammadi codices, gnostic as these are, ideas which we associate with Origen, and the Origenist disputes, such as the spiritual resurrection and the pre-existence of souls.  These apocrypha, then, such as the Gospel of Philip, could be held and used by people holding Origenist views, rather than being gnostics as such.  Indeed we may suppose that the texts may have been revised at this period with these ideas in mind.

I must write to Dr. L. and ask him for specifics on these two texts, which I think we would all find useful, as a possible literary and physical context for the Nag Hammadi codices.

Then it was off to Room 1, up rather a lot of stairs, and much too close to the book exhibitions in the North School, to hear William Tabbernee present a most interesting paper on bishops exiled to Pepuza by Constantius II, including Hilary of Poitiers, and so forced to live among the Montanists and potentially to seek bread from the latter.  Dr. T. very sensibly gave us the text of his article, with footnotes, which indicated the evidence — some from Hilary’s In Constantium.  He finished with photographs of the Pepuza area, which he excavated.  Let us hope that he and his team can return.

That was enough for me for the morning.  I wandered into the North School, where I enquired about the Gorgias dictionary, and met one of my old transcribers of Syriac at the Gorgias stand.  I was forced to apologise for my poor memory, and I hope no-one that I have corresponded with will be offended by what is a physical failure, rather than any rudeness. 

Then, fataly, I went to the Liverpool University Press stall and spent money.  Oh no!  Yes, I actually bought books: Theophilus of Edessa’s Chronicle; Selected Letters of Libanius; and Antioch as a centre of Hellenic culture.  These three totalled £35.  The only difficulty is where I shall put them at home!

I detoured back via my own stall, where I discovered that some careless person had messed up the display — which I fixed — and then back here. 

There’s quite a few sessions this afternoon.  But first, I have some emails to write!

5 Responses to “Oxford Patristics Conference – Thursday (Contd 3)”


  1. jo rosenblum

    I do wish some one else would comment….

    Never the less…. I’m enjoying all that you have to report about the conference.

    Glad that you’ve settled in, sort of….
    (It makes for interesting reading, in a blogish kind of way).

    Hope the change of rooms is all to the good, and you do get a good nights rest.

    Also hope there’s sufficient interest in the book, and you feel that all of that “lugging” has been worthwile.

    Looking forward to the next instalment…

    (don’t supose you took the camera, but a few pics of the architecture and ambience wouldn’t go astray.)

  2. Roger Pearse

    I really should take some photos, shouldn’t it? I take a couple today, but undoubtedly should take more. Off to an organ recital at 8:30 in Christ Church Cathedral. Mostly Bach, thankfully.

  3. Peter Head

    Thanks for the posts. Enjoying them.

  4. Roger Pearse

    Thank you — glad to know someone is reading them! But someone ought to be trying to give the “feel” of the conference, I feel. And aren’t there such a lot of good papers?!

  5. The letter of Dioscorus to Shenouda about heretical books at Roger Pearse

    [...] paper on  Origenism in 5th century Upper Egypt: Shenoute of Atripe and the Nag Hammadi codices, delivered at the Oxford Patristics Conference, I wrote to him, asking about the sources: the letter of Archbishop Dioscorus of Alexandria, and a [...]