Forced marriage in saints’ lives – by Anthony Alcock

Anthony Alcock has written a short note on a hagiographical theme; where monks are kidnapped, and forced into marriage.  This appears in St. Jerome’s Life of Malchus in the 4th century, and also in the 9th century Life of Samuel of Kalamoun.

It’s here:

Altercatio Simonis et Theophili online in English!

Anthony Alcock has translated a much longer piece for us all this time – the Altercatio Simonis et Theophili, or, Disputation between Simon the Jew and Theophilus the Christian.  This has been dated to the 5th century AD, and is the oldest Latin dialogue between Christians and Jews.  It relies extensively on proof-texts.

This is enormously useful to have accessible online! Thank you, Dr. A!

“The miracle of St Michael at Colossae” – now online in English

Anthony Alcock has taken a break from Coptic and translated for us all this Greek hagiographical legend, from the text given in the Patrologia Orientalis 4.  A few notes on the text from the PO might be of interest to readers.

The Bollandist editors placed the composition of this text between 692, when Colossae was abandoned, and 787 AD, when there ceased to be any bishops of Colossae.  Nau believes that it is 7th or perhaps 6th century.

There are three recensions of the Greek text, and a longer Latin version (extant in a single 13th century manuscript) as well.  The first recension is anonymous, and it is this that Nau edited, and that Dr. A has translated.  This is based mainly on Paris BNF suppl. gr. 480, an uncial manuscript (Nau gives no date).  The Bollandists edited  and translated (into Latin) the second recension, attributed to Sisinnius, Archbishop of Constantinople, in the Acta Sanctorum September VIII p.38-49.  The third recension is the one revised by Metaphrastes in the 11th century, and which appears in all the Greek menologia.  Both the first and third recensions have been published in the Analecta Bollandiana.

Dr. A’s translation of this first recension is here:

I think we can all thank Dr. A for making it available.

Anthony Alcock: Three short texts relating to Severus of Antioch – now online

Anthony Alcock is continuing his series of translations from Coptic and Arabic.  Today he emailed over a translation of three short texts in Arabic, relating to Severus of Antioch.  The original language material may be found in the Patrologia Orientalis 2 (1907).

This is very welcome.  Thank you very much, Dr. A!

Life of the Coptic Patriarch Isaac (686-689 AD) by Anthony Alcock

Anthony Alcock has kindly translated for us all a Bohairic Coptic account of the life of the Coptic patriarch Isaac (686-689 AD), which he has sent to me for publication.  The PDF is here:

Isaac does appear in the History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church, but only briefly – this Life is much longer, but also hagiographical.  It is translated from the text in the Patrologia Orientalis 11 (1914).

Our thanks to Dr. Alcock for making this accessible!

Solomon in Coptic Songs – text and translation by Anthony Alcock

Anthony Alcock continues his series of translations from the Coptic.  This new item consists of 10th century AD Coptic songs – folk-stories – which mention Solomon.

Thank you, Dr A., for sharing this with us!

More colophons from Coptic manuscripts, by Anthony Alcock

A little while ago Anthony Alcock sent in a set of colophons – ending remarks – from Coptic manuscripts, which appear here.

Today I have received a follow-up email from Dr A., with translations of a further 20 colophons found in Coptic manuscripts.  It’s here:

Here is an example (number 111):

Through the zeal and providence of the God-loving brother Chael, the son of late Stephen the island farmer, the man of the plain which is north of Esna: he is responsible for the production of this book through his own labour and gave it to the monastery of Mercurius at Edfu for the salvation to provide reading materal about St John and Apa Pachomius so that Mercurius the General and victorious martyr, John the Baptist and forerunner of Christ and Apa Pachomius the archimandrite might call upon Christ on his behalf and bless him in this world and save him from the snares of the devil and wicked people and assist him in all things towards good. After the completion therefore of this life he will be worthy to have his sins forgiven and to receive his inheritance together with all the saints. So be it. Amen.

Remember me, Theopistos, the lowly deacon, the son of Severus the archpresbyter of the monastery of St Mercurius at Esna. I wrote this book with my hand. Pray for me that God might forgive me my many sins, for they are indeed numerous. So be it.

Added in Greek which is not readable in places:

Written Emshir 16, indiction 15, AM 703, AH 376.

Abba Nicodemus the lowly . . . Apollonia . . . Thebes . . . Philae. Amen

Amshir is the Coptic month that starts on 8 February, AH (Anno Hegirae) is the Muslim era, so this manuscript was completed by the deacon Theopistos, son of Severus, on 24 Feb, 987 AD.

Let us indeed remember him, as he requested; and thank Anthony Alcock for making these words accessible to us all.

A collection of colophons from Coptic manuscripts, by Anthony Alcock

Anthony Alcock has kindly sent in a text and translation of some colophons – final material – from Coptic manuscripts.  It’s here:

As ever, many thanks to Dr. A.  It is really useful to have this material online and in English!

Coptic text of the Acta Pilati – translated into English by Anthony Alcock

Anthony Alcock continues his splendid series of translations from Coptic with a translation of the Coptic version of the Acta Pilati, from a papyrus manuscript in Turin published in the Patrologia Orientalis 9.  This forms part of the text known as the Gospel of Nicodemus.

Here it is:

Our thanks to Dr Alcock for making this available!  More please!

The apocryphal Pilate literature is a tangled mass of materials in Greek, Latin and other languages, which ought to be sorted out one day.

English translation of Coptic apocrypha, “The Investiture of the Archangel Michael” – by Anthony Alcock

Anthony Alcock has translated another Coptic apocryphon for us – the Investiture of Michael the Archangel.  It purports to be written by John the Evangelist, and narrates non-canonical discussion between Jesus and his disciples.    The complete text is preserved in a 9th century Sahidic codex, and fragments from a White Monastery parchment manuscript of the 9-12th century.[1]

The translation is here:

Thank you so much, Dr A.

  1. [1]These notes via here, H. Lundhaug &c, The monastic origins of the Nag Hammadi codices, 2015, p.156-7.