Three Reports from Heaven - Literary Treasures among the Coptic Texts from Qasr Ibrim

This free Egypt Exploration Society public lecture by Mr. Joost Hagen presents three texts, all of which have to do with messages from heaven.

- A sermon on repentance, or possibly an encomium on Saint John Chrysostom, in which the already deceased archbishop of Constantinople is met by the Egyptian abbot Shenoute, during one of the latter's visits to heaven when he was still alive, and in which God's mercy and the function of human repentance are discussed.

- The first Coptic version, apparently surviving in two copies, of the Letter from Heaven on Sunday Observance, known in most languages of the Christian East and West, in which God lectures Christians about the importance of going to church, hearing the Scriptures and receiving Communion.

- The first-known non-Slavonic version of the Second Book of Enoch, formerly known as Slavonic Enoch, in which the Old Testament patriarch Enoch is given a tour of heaven and is told about the secrets of creation, which he then recounts to his children before being taken up to heaven for good.

An analysis of these three texts found during EES excavations, together with a brief overview of all excavated Coptic literary material from Qasr Ibrim (Biblical, liturgical, homiletic), will contribute to a discussion of the importance of Coptic literature in medieval Christian Nubia, and Qasr Ibrim in particular.

Mr. Hagen is currently completing a doctoral dissertation about the Coptic manuscript texts from Qasr Ibrim in Leiden. He holds a doctoral research position in Leiden and a part-time position in the project DDGLC at the Egyptological Institute in Leipzig.


Posted on Jan 16, 2014 in Lectures



for Byzantine Arts and Culture

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