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!