Fragments of Eusebius in a Coptic catena

I’ve mentioned before that the Coptic catena on the gospels in the Bohairic dialect published by Delagarde contains fragments attributed to Eusebius.

Six months ago I commissioned a translation of these into English.  The lady who agreed to do it refused payment, indicating that they would be done as part of a small group teaching exercise.  Unfortunately she did part of the first fragment and then went silent.

Some months later I commissioned someone else to have a go, who did fragments 2-6, although I wasn’t sure the results were as fit for publication as I would have liked. 

Then the other day, suddenly, I got an email from the other lady, attaching a file with the extension .doc but clearly not in any normal format, containing the second half of the fragments; done to quite  a high standard, but because of the formatting very difficult to disentangle.  Apparently the rest have been done as well, and will be sent to me (which was some weeks ago).

Last night I went through all the material, to see what was done and what not.  I’m still missing translations of a few of them.  I really need a reliable Copticist of professional standard to pull all this together — wonder where I could find one?

The notes from the lady tell me that the catena is lacunose; in translating they came across obvious unsignalled areas where the text is missing, perhaps pages missing.

Much of the material is very banal, consisting of a few words, then a sentence of scripture, another few words, another sentence, and so on.  It is easy to see that working through the catenas is 90% dross and 10% excitement.  It does urgently need doing, tho.

One phrase in the 6th fragment did catch my eye, and I will share it with you:

Our enemies are the devil and also his demons; they who hate our life and they seek our destruction every moment.

A useful reminder that our lives are not as banal as they seem, and small decisions may be twisted by our enemies for our destruction.


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