Thursday, April 16, 2009

Coptic Text of the Pauline Epistles

Along with Codex Tchacos (= the Gospel of Judas Codex), two other codices were found. One of these contained the Pauline Epistles. This codex was sold about a year and a half ago and has been sent to Augsburg to be restored by Gregor Wurst. Apparently, it is also Sahidic with considerable Middle Egyptian influence. A picture has apparently been published of one side of a relatively intact leaf of Colossians in Ink and Blood Dead Sea Scrolls to the English Bible. Is there anyone out there who can send me a scan of the photo from this publication? The pamphlet was created as part of a traveling exhibition. cha25 [a]

UPDATE: The text is written in Sahidic (although the vowels are not abbreviated) and preserves a text essentially the same as the circa 600 CE Chester Beatty Codex.


  1. am I the only one whose eyes skipped over the "ch" in "Codex Tchacos" and immediately conjured images of hungry Mexican scribes? And could that be because it's 2:00PM here and so far I've missed lunch today?

    Sorry, off topic I know, I'm just always interested in the types of reading errors we make, wondering how it should or should not influence our evaluation of variants.

  2. Maybe you would be interested in a juicy bite of the Hamburger papyrus.

  3. I've a copy but unable to scan it at present - my apologies.

    You mention the MS having been sent to Augsburg, but has all of it been sent there?

    (1) E. Muro is the owner of a few fragments purchased in 2006. See his webpage at
    See also a small image on Bob Krafts "Pursuing Papyri and Papyrology by Way of eBay: A Preliminary Report" at

    (2) There were at least 2 frgs. from Ferrini's estate being held in a bank vault in Akron

    Hope this helps, if not my email is


  4. Further to my comment of this morning I checked the link to Ernest Muro's webpage - it nolonger works. A check of the webpage of Roger Pearse "The Coptic Ps.Gospel of Judas (Iscariot)" at shows that Muro died over a year ago and his frgs. of Gospel of Judas, Exodus in Greek, and Pauline Epistles have been put on ebay for sale. I don't have any details yet if they have been sold or not or exactly where on ebay they are or were. If anybody has any details please advise.

    Matthew Hamilton

  5. Matthew,
    Gregor Wurst gave a paper at the International Association of Coptic Studies Conference in Cairo this last summer, and revealed the details posted here. In my notes, I have written "~13 fragmentary leaves, Galatians and Colossians". Hans-Gebhard Bethge (Humboldt University, Berlin) is editing the text.

    I think that these fragments were bought at an antiquities auction -- not on eBay, although I am aware of the eBay incident.

  6. Truly excellent news! I was never able to find any information about this manuscript -- one of four -- and feared the worst. Thank you so much for reporting this.

  7. It sounds as if quite a bit of the codex is missing. Here's Stephen Emmel's report on it, from 1983:

    "Item 3 is fragments of a papyrus codex from the 5th (possibly 4th) century AD containing at least some of the letters of St. Paul. The leaves are approximately 24 cm tall and 16 cm broad. The scribe outlined his writing area with pink chalk. His handwriting is cursive in style, as though somewhat quickly written. The pages are numbered above the center of a single column of writing, the highest page number observed being 115. There are some nearly complete leaves of the codex preserved, and many smaller fragments, which might be reassembled into at least a sizeable portion of the codex. There is also part of a leather binding (either the front or the back cover, including the spine, lined with scrap papyrus) which probably, though not certainly, belongs to this codex. The contents identified with certainty are Hebrews, Colossians, and 1 Thessalonians. The texts are in a non-standard form of the Sahidic dialect."

    Note the mention of 1 Thessalonians.

  8. I am still in search of this photo. If anyone can send me a scan, I would appreciate it.

  9. I now have a digital image. I hope to post on the nature of the text sometime soon.