Alin Suciu has another marvellous post on an item entirely new to me.
When the High Dam was built in the 1960s, almost the entire Nile valley between Aswan and Wadi Halfa had been inundated in order to create the Lake Nassar. As the waters were rising, many archeological sites were destroyed, while others, such as the well-known temples of Abu-Simbel, were removed from their original location and re-erected elsewhere. During the construction of the dam, more precisely in October-November 1965, the archeological team from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago was excavating a Christian monastery at Qasr el-Wizz, situated just a couple of kilometers north of Faras, in Lower Nubia. …
Perhaps the most exciting discovery of the Chicago team at Qasr el-Wizz was a small parchment book written in Coptic. The manuscript was found almost intact, virtually the entire text being preserved. The Qasr el-Wizz codex was initially housed in the Coptic Museum in Cairo, but was later been moved to the new Nubian Museum in Aswan.
The codex is quite short (only 17 folios), is dated to the 10th century, and contains two items:
A revelation of the risen Christ to the apostles, delivered on the Mount of Olives. “It contains a dialogue of the apostle Peter with the resurrected Christ concerning the eschatological and soteriological function of the Cross.”
“A hymn sung by Jesus whilst the apostles are dancing around the Cross”.
The first item has long been known in Old Nubian, and was published by F. L. Griffith in The Nubian Texts of the Christian Period, Berlin, 1913 (online here).
The second is more interesting: it is an abbreviated version of the “Hymn of the Cross” found in the so-called “Gospel of the Savior”, P. Berol. 22220, published by Charles Hedrick back in 1997-ish — a report about it was one of the first items on my newly created website — and apparently this is also found in the so-called “Strasbourg Coptic Gospel”, which is unknown to me.
An English translation was prepared in typescript by Egyptologist George R. Hughes in 1965, for private use, which Alin rediscovered in the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. He did place it online, but felt obliged to remove it after a communication from Artur Obluski, whom he may have thought was writing on behalf of that institution.
That is rather a pity, surely. I have always thought of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago as a rather forward-looking body. The availability of an admittedly obsolete translation of this obscure item can only benefit everyone by raising awareness of the text. It is, after all, very obscure. I had never heard of it, and, given my interest in ancient texts, that means that practically no-one has ever heard of it.
Perhaps I might write to that institution and ask whether they really have any objection.