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

In: Vigiliae Christianae
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  • 1 Department of Classics and Religious Studies, University of Ottawa, 55 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa, ON, Canada k1n 6n5jdijkstr@uottawa.ca
  • | 2 Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies, Radboud University, Erasmusplein 1, 6500 hd Nijmegen, the NetherlandsInstitute for Area Studies, Leiden University, Witte Singel 25/M. de Vrieshof 4 2311 bz Leiden, the Netherlandsj.van.der.vliet@hum.leidenuniv.nl
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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.

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