The Coptic Life of Aaron

Critical Edition, Translation and Commentary


The Life of Aaron is one of the most interesting and sophisticated hagiographical works surviving in Coptic. The work contains descriptions of the lives of ascetic monks, in particular Apa Aaron, on the southern Egyptian frontier in the fourth and early fifth centuries, and was probably written in the sixth century. Even though the first edition of this work was already published by E.A. Wallis Budge in 1915, a critical edition remained outstanding. In this book Jitse H.F. Dijkstra and Jacques van der Vliet present not only a critical text, for the most part based on the only completely preserved, tenth-century manuscript, but also a new translation and an exhaustive commentary addressing philological, literary and historical aspects of the text.

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Jitse H.F. Dijkstra, Ph.D. (2005), University of Groningen, is Professor of Classics at the University of Ottawa. He is the author of numerous studies on Late Antique Egypt, including the monograph Philae and the End of Ancient Egyptian Religion. A Regional Study of Religious Transformation (298–642 CE) (2008). Jacques van der Vliet, Ph.D. (1996), Leiden University, is endowed Professor of Religions of Ancient Egypt at Radboud University, Nijmegen, and guest researcher at the Leiden Institute for Area Studies (Leiden University). He publishes widely on all aspects of Coptic literary culture. His most recent book is The Christian Epigraphy of Egypt and Nubia (2018).
En somme, c’est un excellent ouvrage, qui, bien que donnant à lire un texte qui était déjà connu du public, en présente une version revue, corrigée, améliorée, et même augmentée d’un papyrus. Enfin, le commentaire permet d’approfondir le texte, et de le replacer dans son contexte historique, géographique, linguistique ou littéraire. La lecture de ce bel ouvrage est donc aussi intéressante qu’enrichissante, son sérieux et son exhaustivité sont manifestes, et il ne reste qu’à souhaiter qu’il inspire un aussi grand nombre que possible d’éditeurs de textes.
Catherine Louis, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2022
Preface Abbreviations
Introduction  1 Previous Scholarship  2 Manuscripts and Colophon  3 Language and Orthography  4 Structure and Narrative Levels  5 Genre, Author and Audience  6 Sources and Intertextuality  7 Historical Significance and Date  8 A Word on the Edition, Translation and Commentary
Text and Translation
Bibliography Index of Written Sources Index of Names Index of Egyptian Coptic Words Index of Greek Loan Words General Index Figures
Advanced/graduate students and scholars interested in Late Antique Egypt, Coptic and early Christian literature, and ancient monasticism.
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