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The Earliest Manuscript of the Coptic Life of Aaron (British Library, Or. 7558 [89] [93] [150])

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image of Vigiliae Christianae

In this article, we offer a first edition of three papyrus fragments in Sahidic Coptic from the British Library (Or. 7558 [89] [93] [150]). They can be dated to the sixth or seventh century on palaeographical grounds and belong to the earliest known manuscript of the Coptic Life of Aaron. Since a complete manuscript of the text survives in a tenth-century paper codex, also preserved in the British Library (Or. 7029), the fragments enable us to compare the text of a Coptic hagiographical work as it was fairly close to the date of its composition, in this case probably the sixth century, with a much later version of the same text. A detailed analysis allows conclusions about both the reliability of the medieval witness and the nature of the changes that the text underwent in the course of its transmission.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Classics and Religious Studies, University of Ottawa55 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa, ON, Canada k1n; 2: Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies, Radboud UniversityErasmusplein 1, 6500 hd Nijmegenthe NetherlandsInstitute for Area Studies, Leiden UniversityWitte Singel 25/M. de Vrieshof 4 2311 bz Leidenthe


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