Pachomius, “Instruction concerning a spiteful monk” – now translated by Anthony Alcock

There is a text preserved in a Coptic manuscript which is thought by some to be the work, or partly the work, of the Egyptian monastic leader Pachomius.  Dr Anthony Alcock has kindly prepared a new translation of the work, from the text printed by E. A. Budge in Coptic Apocrypha in the Dialect of Upper Egypt (1913), p.146-176.  He has made this available to us online, under the title of: Instructing an angry monk at Tabennêse.  It’s here:

The text was printed from a single parchment manuscript, discovered at the monastery of S. Mercurius at Edfu.  It is now British Library Oriental 7024.  The text is on folios 18r-49v.  The colophon dates it to AD 985.[1]  The work was edited again by L. T. Lefort, Œuvres de S. Pachôme et de ses disciples, CSCO 159, (with French translation CSCO 160) (1956), p.1-24.  But this I have not seen.  The original work was certainly in Coptic, but at least two manuscripts of an Arabic translation are known.  Lefort made use of one, and the other was discovered recently by Khalil Samir.  Other Arabic manuscripts probably exist, or so I learn from A. Veilleux &c, Pachomian Koinonia: Instructions, Letters and other writings of Salnt Pachomius and his disciples, vol. 3 (1982) which also includes an English translation (online at Alin Suciu’s site here).

The manuscript attributes the work to Pachomius, but there is some disagreement among scholars, or so I learn from Ulla Tervahauta &c, Women and Knowledge in Early Christianity, p.255 n.18 (preview here).  There is more discussion at Carolyn Schneider, The Text of a Coptic Monastic Discourse On Love and Self-Control (2017), p.79 f. (preview here).  No doubt any Coptic monastic text might drift into being attributed to Pachomius, whoever the original author.   Lefort was the first to note that the work includes a long section from Athanasius’ On Charity and Continence, quoted without attribution.

Thank you Dr Alcock!

  1. [1]So this page.