Papyrus manuscript of Didymus the Blind’s “Commentary on Ecclesiastes” online!

Quite accidentally I find that colour photographs of the pages of Didymus the Blind’s Commentary on Ecclesiastes are online here.  I can only say “wow!”

This work was lost until 1941.  In that year, the threat of Rommel’s Afrika Corps caused the British Government to order works carried out at the Tura quarries near Cairo, to store ammunition.  The quarries themselves were used in ancient times.  At some point native workmen discovered a pile of leaves of papyrus hidden under apparently random chunks of stone.  They promptly spirited them away and sold them for a song to the antiquities dealers.  But word got out, and most of the find was recovered.  The main portion of it was biblical commentaries by Didymus the Blind and Origen.

Now wouldn’t it be nice if an English translation of this work was also online?


10 thoughts on “Papyrus manuscript of Didymus the Blind’s “Commentary on Ecclesiastes” online!

  1. Neat find indeed! I’m pretty sure all of the material from the find has been put in the TLG. I took a brief look at his exegetical work on the Psalms a few months ago (apparently of disputed authorship), and the language was pretty easy to work with. It looks like Robert C. Hill has translated the commentary on Zechariah, but I don’t know of any translations for any of the rest.

  2. Is the full Greek text of “Commentary on Eccelsiastes” available online? I can only find some fragments of it ( e.g. in PG) but cannot see the full edition. Thank you for guidance.

  3. Well the full text isn’t in the PG, because it was only rediscovered in 1941! I don’t think it’s online. It might be in the TLG?

  4. It is indeed in the TLG. Some Didymus is included in the abrdiged canon that is freely available, but the commentary on Ecclesiastes is not.

  5. Thank you for the prompt answer. I know about the re-discovery of the text in 1941. Also seen your post and the link to photographs.
    There is some part of the Commentary of Ecclesiastes available in PG, but not the piece I am looking for. And I am particularily intrested in the Eccl 3,13 where Didymus comments on Ignatius of Antioch.

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