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Reassessing The "Recensional Problem" In Testament Of Abraham

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Chapter Summary

Study of the Testament of Abraham (TAbr) has proved especially difficult because of the complicated problems involved in assessing the relationship between the two radically different Greek forms ("recensions") in which it has been preserved. Analysis of possible references to TAbr in ancient and medieval/ byzantine lists and writings have not proved particularly helpful in establishing clear evidence for the earlier existence of TAbr in any of its known forms. Supportive evidence from the literatures of hellenistic-Roman and byzantine/medieval times is available for a great number of possible models. A short form of TAbr was available in Sahidic in fifth-century Egypt, and from at least the eleventh century onward. TAbr in various forms and languages had become very popular among eastern Christian copyists and compilers who transmitted hagiographical material for use in connection with the liturgical calendar for remembering the lives and/or deaths of revered persons.

Keywords: fifth-century Egypt; hellenistic-Roman; Testament of Abraham (TAbr)



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