Christian H. Bull
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The present volume is a revised version of my Ph.D.-dissertation in the Study of Religions, defended at the University of Bergen, June 27th, 2014. I must first and foremost give my sincere thanks to my doctoral advisor, Prof. Einar Thomassen, who inducted me into the mysteries of Coptic and philological research. He has throughout trusted me to find my own way, while offering encouragement and steering me back on course when I veered too far off. I also wish to thank Prof. Ingvild Sælid Gilhus, who read and commented on my dissertation, and who has continually been a great support. I have also benefitted from discussions with and feedback from Prof. Lisbeth Mikaelsson, Pål Steiner, and Alexandros Tsakos, all of whom contributed greatly to make the academic and social environment in Bergen pleasant and stimulating. I must also thank my doctoral defense committee, consisting of Prof. Sissel Undheim and my two “opponents,” Profs. Alberto Camplani and Jørgen Podemann Sørensen, who offered invaluable criticism that has been incorporated in the revision, and with whom I have later had the pleasure of conversing further.

I am also grateful to Profs. Einar Thomassen, Antti Marjanen, and Nils-Arne Pedersen, who constituted the steering-committee of the Nordic Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism Network (NNGN), which was funded by NordForsk from 2004 to 2008 and has continued on afterwards in North America, as the Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism Network (NHGN). I met some of my best friends and colleagues through this network, of whom I must single out Tuomas Rasimus, René Falkenberg, Hugo Lundhaug, Tilde Bak Halvgaard, Dylan Burns, and Lance Jenott, for making the meetings intensely enjoyable. I also wish to acknowledge and thank Prof. John D. Turner and his family for hosting the marvelous semi-annual Coptic Camp at his home in Lincoln, Nebraska.

I thank the Norwegian Institute of Rome for financial support which enabled me to stay in Rome from September to October 2013 and January 2017. I also thank the participants of the PHANES-network, which I co-founded with Arve O. Berntzen in 2009, for stimulating meetings over the years.

After defending my dissertation, I worked as a post-doctoral researcher between 2014 and 2016 for the project “New Contexts for Old Texts: Unorthodox Texts and Monastic Manuscript Culture in Fourth- and Fifth-Century Egypt” (NEWCONT), based at the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo.1 I am most thankful to the project leader, Prof. Hugo Lundhaug, and the other members of the project. While in Oslo I also benefitted from collaboration with Prof. Jens Braarvig, who taught me Armenian, and Prof. Anastasia Maravela and her papyrology group. I am especially thankful to Prof. Maravela for sponsoring the application for my present project through the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, at the University of Oslo, where I am currently employed.2

I can thank Lance Jenott for introducing me to the Hermetic “lodge,” led by Prof. Christian Wildberg and including Alex Kocar and Geoff Smith. I was able to join the group for several intensive reading sessions of the Hermetica at Princeton University, which were highly stimulating. I am furthermore most grateful to Prof. Wildberg for kindly inviting me as a visiting researcher to Princeton University, where I am currently based. During my time in Princeton I have had the opportunity of meeting Prof. Jacco Dieleman, who admitted to being my anonymous peer-reviewer for Brill. I wish to thank him for invaluable suggestions for improvement, as well as stimulating conversations while in Princeton. The responsibility for any errors remaining is needless to say my own.

Finally, my deepest gratitude goes to my mother and father, for their unwavering support.


The project was funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) / ERC Grant Agreement no. 283741.


FRIPRO mobility grant, project 250781. Jointly funded by the Norwegian Research Council the Co-funding of Regional, National, and International Programmes (COFUND)—Marie Curie Actions.

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