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PhD Defence

Another Athanasius: Four Sahidic Homilies attributed to St. Athanasius of Alexandria

Wednesday 9 November 2016
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof. J. van der Vliet
  • Prof. O.E. Kaper

In this dissertation, four homilies preserved in Sahidic Coptic and attributed to Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296-373) are presented for the first time in a critical edition, together with an English translation.
The first homily, which is preserved in manuscript M 602, f. 89r-98r, is an encomium in praise of the archangels Michael and Gabriel.
The second is about murder and greed and about Saint Michael, the archangel. It is preserved in manuscript M 602, f. 98v-110v.
The third is preserved in manuscript M 577, f. 37v-49v. The main subject of the homily is an exegesis of the pericope of the midnight friend in Luke 11: 5-9.
The fourth is about Pentecost. It is preserved in manuscript M 595, f. 118v-140v.
The editions of the four texts are preceded by a general introduction that describes the textual transmission of the homilies and the individual manuscripts.
The first three homilies are didactic homilies, composed with the help of various earlier sources. Their final redaction may have taken place as late as the period of the so-called 'synaxarial systematization', around the ninth century, when they were adapted for liturgical use.
The fourth homily was probably conceived as unity and may go back to a late-antique original, presumably written in Greek. None of the homilies was authored by Athanasius himself, but they are valuable witnesses to the reception of the figure of Athanasius in later centuries, reflecting the needs of the Egyptian miaphysite Church following the schism of the sixth century.


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