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Hermetism/Hermeticism

(1,380 words)

Author(s): Burns, Dylan
The Term “Hermetism” “Hermetism” is a term used today to describe the authors of Late Antique instructional texts which feature the personage of Hermes Trismegistus (“thrice-great Hermes”) as instructor or interlocutor. In these texts, Hermes discusses and describes magical, astrological, alchemical, philosophical, and mystical ideas and practices. The variety of Hermetic subjects testifies to the absolute dominion of Hermes over every sort of learning: he was a personification of knowledge itself.…

Pleroma

(4,396 words)

Author(s): Burns, Dylan M.
πλήρωμα (“fullness”; pl. plērōmata) is a Greek word that assumed particular importance as a terminus technicus for divine presence in early Christian literature and especially our evidence regarding Gnosticism. In Classical and Hellenistic Greek, plērōma appeared in non-technical, colloquial, and everyday usages to denote a complete group, sum of a given quantity, the completion of something, or simply bodies occupying a particular space, such as the contents of a filled up vessel, or of a ship of cargo (for survey, see Markus, …
Date: 2020-12-17

Shem, Paraphrase of

(1,556 words)

Author(s): Burns, Dylan M.
The Paraphrase of Shem is the first tractate of the best-preserved codex discovered at Nag Hammadi (Upper Egypt) in 1945 – codex 7 – and so is among the most complete of the Coptic texts composing the Nag Hammadi collection. The scribal hand of the codex is a practiced, lovely unical script, identical to that of the latter treatises of NHC 11 ( Allogenes and Hypsiphrone). The scribe of the first half of NHC 11 also wrote NHC 1.4 ( Treatise on the Resurrection), and the make of codices 1, 7, and 11 are similar, so the three are generally considered to make up a subcollection (P…
Date: 2020-12-17

Seth, Three Steles of

(1,652 words)

Author(s): Burns, Dylan M.
The Three Steles of Seth is the fifth and last tractate of the best-preserved codex discovered at Nag Hammadi (Upper Egypt) in 1945 – codex 7 – although it suffers from deterioration in its final pages. The scribal hand of the codex is a practiced, lovely unical script, identical to that of the latter treatises of NHC 11 ( Allogenes and Hypsiphrone). The scribe of the first half of NHC 11 also wrote NHC 1.4 ( Treatise on the Resurrection), and the make of codices 1, 7, and 11 are similar, so the three books are generally considered to compose a subcollection (Painchaud & K…
Date: 2020-12-17

Seth, Second Discourse of the Great

(1,669 words)

Author(s): Burns, Dylan M.
The Second Treatise (or Discourse) of the Great Seth is the second tractate of the best-preserved codex discovered at Nag Hammadi (Upper Egypt) in 1945 – codex 7 – and so is among the most complete of the Coptic texts making up the Nag Hammadi collection. The scribal hand of the codex is a practiced, lovely uncial script, identical to that of the latter treatises of NHC 11 ( Allogenes and Hypsiphrone). The scribe of the first half of NHC 11 also wrote NHC 1.4 ( Treatise on the Resurrection), and the make of codices 1, 7, and 9 are similar, so the three are generally considered to ma…
Date: 2020-12-17

9.7 Coptic

(766 words)

Author(s): M. Burns, Dylan
Part of 9 Judith 9.7.1 Background and Manuscript Evidence1In the Coptic language, the book of Judith can only be read in the Sahidic dialect of Upper Egypt. The Sahidic version is extant in three sources known to the author. The first is CopSa 19 a parchment palimpsest codex, Syriac written on two columns of Coptic. It inhabits the British Library in London under the name Add. 17183,2 having been brought from the Wadī al-Natrun in Egypt, between modern-day Cairo and Alexandria. It was published by Thompson, who assented (with considerable reservation) to the …
Date: 2020-02-27

15.6 Coptic

(1,537 words)

Author(s): M. Burns, Dylan
Part of 15 Wisdom of SolomonThe Wisdom of Solomon was probably first translated into Coptic in the fourth century C.E., during the flourishing of the Sahidic (Upper Egyptian/Southern) dialect that would remain the classical, literary variant of Coptic through the seventh or eighth century C.E. This period witnessed the extensive production of Coptic literature, and particularly biblical translations (I.1.4.2), the latter deriving chiefly from the Old Greek versions (I.1.3.1.1) preserved in the uncial manuscripts. Beginning in the eleventh century or so, the Boha…
Date: 2020-02-27

5.6.4 Coptic

(818 words)

Author(s): M. Burns, Dylan
Part of 5 Enoch - 5.6 The Letter of Enoch 5.6.4.1 Background and ManuscriptA single parchment fragment preserving part of a translation of the Apocalypse of Weeks ( 1 En 93:3–8) survives in Coptic, in the Classical Sahidic dialect of Upper Egypt. This southern dialect flourished from the fourth to the eighth centuries C.E., a “golden age” of Coptic literary production and, particularly, biblical translations from Greek texts (I.1.4.2.4) preserved today in the Greek uncial manuscripts.1 The fragment measures roughly 7.5 × 16 cm. Its text is laid out in two vertical colu…
Date: 2020-02-27

14.10 Coptic

(1,362 words)

Author(s): M. Burns, Dylan
Part of 14 Tobit 14.10.1 Significance and Manuscript EvidenceThe Book of Tobit was considered an authoritative part of the Old Testament in the Coptic Orthodox Church. Its significance amongst Egyptian Christians is ancient indeed; an intense, private prayer written upon an ostracon of the sixth–seventh century C.E., for instance, begins by quoting Tobit 12:10.1Almost the entirety of the book of Tobit survives in the Sahidic dialect of Upper Egypt, across three codices. The first is a palimpsest parchment codex (two columns) CopSa 20 that also includes Joshua (I.3–5.2.2.2.1) and …
Date: 2020-02-27

7.2.5 Coptic

(905 words)

Author(s): M. Burns, Dylan
Part of 7 Ezra - 7.2 4 Ezra (= 2 Esdras 3–14) 7.2.5.1 Significance and Manuscript Evidence 4 Ezra is preserved in Coptic only in three short fragments in the Sahidic dialect of Upper Egypt, into which the initial translations of Biblical texts from Greek were made over the course of the fourth century C.E. (I.1.4.2.4).1 A parchment fragment (P. Berol. 9096) offers a translation of the text of 4 Ezra 13:30–33, 40–46.2 However, the text is both lacunous and brief. Violet demonstrated that some readings align with the Latin (7.2.3) and Syriac (7.2.2; e.g., 4 Ezra 13:32: “my son”) version…
Date: 2020-02-27

4.7 Coptic

(872 words)

Author(s): M. Burns, Dylan
Part of 4 Ecclesiasticus/Ben Sira 4.7.1 Background and SignificanceThe Book of Ben Sira is among the more significant scriptures from the Bible transmitted in Coptic. It is translated across a variety of dialects and periods, is relatively well-preserved in the manuscripts, and is employed in the Coptic liturgy through the present day. The translation of Sirach from LXX (4.3) into the Sahidic dialect of Coptic was probably accomplished by the end of the fourth century C.E. (I.1.4.2.4).1 This southern, classical dialect began to be replaced in the eleventh century by the…
Date: 2020-02-27