Anthony Alcock is continuing his series of translations of Coptic texts. He has sent in a translation of a hagiographical text, the Confession and Martyrdom of Cyprian of Antioch, and provided a short introduction. The text is translated from manuscript.
The story is known to 4th century authors but is purely fictional, and perhaps based on earlier pagan stories including Lucian. The saint is also known as Cyprian the Magician, and he is described as a pagan magician who converts to Christ. The Wikipedia article on Cyprian and Justina is here. It has been suggested that the text may have inspired the modern legend of Faust, the man who sold his soul to the devil. A blog article here gives some interesting information about the text and its transmission in Greek from L. Radermacher, Griechische Quellen Zur Faustsage. Der Zauberer Cyprianus. Die Erzählung Des Helladius. Theophilus. (Anthemius.), 1927. Unfortunately I have no time to go into any of this now.
Here is the translation of the Coptic texts:
Thank you, Dr Alcock.
The sage Luqman appears in the Koran, but also in other sources, as the author of collections of wisdom. Anthony Alcock has translated one of these collections from Arabic, which is very good news. The content itself is highly readable, and it is very useful to have. Here it is:
Thank you, Dr. A!
Anthony Alcock has translated Synesius of Cyrene’s spoof Encomium of baldness from Greek. Synesius was a contemporary of Hypatia, and lived in the late 4th century.
Here it is:
Anthony Alcock has deviated from his usual work in Syriac and Coptic to translate one of the ancient Lives of Aesop. His full introduction explains which, and based on what manuscripts. This work belongs to the genre of “sayings” or “wisdom” literature (gnomologia); but I presume might also relate to the genre of Saints’ lives.
This is therefore very valuable to have. Thank you!
Dr Anthony Alcock kindly sent in this item today:
In the late 19th century the Nestorians were still holed up in the mountains of what is today northern Iraq, and preserved a considerable amount of literature in Syriac giving their side of the dispute with Cyril of Alexandria that culminated in the Council of Ephesus in 433.
Anthony Alcock has kindly translated an abbreviated account of this, from that perspective. I think most of us find Cyril difficult to like, and tend to be sympathetic to Nestorius. So these texts are valuable. Here it is:
Thank you so much!
Now here is an interesting one! Dr Alcock writes:
I attach an annotated translation of the ‘fictional’ part of the Coptic acts of the Synod of Ephesus. I am currently preparing an annotated translation of a short Syriac text about Nestorius, which of course contains a different perspective (or ‘take’, as people say nowadays).
Here it is:
Pboou is one of the Pachomian monasteries. The Egyptian text has suffered from the attention of hagiographers, who have introduced fictional sections like this one. So the story is not of historical value (although genuine documents from the synod are embedded in the text).
All this material is useful to have online in English. We could do with much more synodical material accessible in this way. Who of us has ever read the Acts of Ephesus, or Chalcedon?
Dr Alcock has kindly translated another Eastern Christian text. This one is a collection of miracles by St Ptolemy. It’s here:
Thank you so much, Dr A.!
We don’t get a lot of new ante-Nicene material these days, which is why such a piece is very welcome. Peter I of Alexandria was put to death in 311 AD in the persecution of Diocletian.
This fragment of a sermon is preserved in Coptic. Anthony Alcock has translated it, and here it is!
Well worth reading! Thank you Dr. A. It’s always good to read material written before the church was legalised.
Anthony Alcock has emailed in an English translation of another Syriac text. This one is a hagiographical text, perhaps of Nestorian origin, on the Emperor Maurice. It’s here: