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2nd Enoch in Coptic discovered

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  • Wieland Willker
    via Jim Davila: http://paleojudaica.blogspot.com/2009_04_05_archive.html#233248324834865637 2 ENOCH IN COPTIC! The book of 2 Enoch, previously known only in
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 14, 2009
      via Jim Davila:

      The book of 2 Enoch, previously known only in versions in Old Church
      Slavonic, has now been partly recovered in an earlier Coptic translation.
      The fragments were found nearly four decades ago and the transcriptions and
      photos have been sitting unnoticed for many years. Here's the announcement:

      2 Enoch attested in Coptic from Nubia

      During his work preparing the publication of Coptic manuscripts from Qasr
      Ibrim in Egyptian Nubia, Joost Hagen, doctoral student at Leiden University,
      The Netherlands, very recently came across some fragments he could identify
      as part of the text of the so-called 'Slavonic Enoch' (2 Enoch), the first
      time a non-Slavonic manuscript of this intriguing text has been found.

      The fragments were discovered at Qasr Ibrim, one of the capital cities of
      Christian-period Nubia (southern Egypt, northern Sudan, 5th-15th cent. AD),
      during excavations by the British Egypt Exploration Society (EES) which
      started in 1963 and have brought to light an astonishing number of finds,
      textual and other. Joost Hagen has been entrusted by the EES with the
      edition of the manuscript material in Coptic, the language of Christian
      Egypt and one of the literary languages used in the Christian kingdoms of

      The 'Slavonic Enoch' fragments, found in 1972, are four in number, most
      probably remnants of four consecutive leaves of a parchment codex. The
      fourth fragment is rather small and not yet placed with certainty, also
      because there is as yet no photograph of it available, only the
      transcription of its text by one of the excavators. For the other three
      fragments, both this transcription and two sets of photographs are
      available. The present location of the pieces themselves is not known, but
      most probably they are in one of the museums or magazines of the Antiquities
      Organization in Egypt.

      The fragments contain chapters 36-42 of 2 Enoch, probably one of the most
      interesting parts of the work one could wish for, with the transition
      between two of its three main parts: Enoch's heavenly tour and his brief
      return to earth before the assuming of his task back in heaven. Moreover,
      they clearly represent a text of the short recension, with chapter 38 and
      some other parts of the long recension 'missing' and chapters 37 and 39 in
      the order 39 then 37. On top of that, it contains the 'extra' material at
      the end of chapter 36 that is present only in the oldest Slavonic manuscript
      of the work, U (15th cent.), and in manuscript A (16th cent.), which is
      closely related to U. For most Coptic texts, a translation from a Greek
      original is taken for granted and the existence of this Coptic version might
      well confirm the idea of an original of the Book of the Secrets of Enoch in
      Greek from Egypt, probably Alexandria.

      Archeologically it seems likely that the Coptic manuscript is part of the
      remains of a church library from before the year 1172, possibly even from
      before 969, two important dates in the history of Qasr Ibrim; a tentative
      first look at palaeographical criterea seems to suggest a date in the eighth
      to ninth, maybe tenth centuries, during Nubia's early medieval period. This
      would mean that the fragments predate the accepted date of the translation
      of 2 Enoch into Slavonic (11th, 12th cent.) and that they are some several
      hunderd years older than the earliest Slavonic witness, a text with extracts
      of the ethical passages (14th cent.).

      Although this Coptic manuscript is fragmentary, it proved to be possible to
      reconstruct part of the missing text using (translations of) the Slavonic
      versions, and several theories formulated about the book of 2 Enoch by
      Slavists and theologians have already been confirmed or proven wrong.
      Recently, the priority of the longer recension has been advocated (again).
      But the discovery of this first non-Slavonic witness, at the same time the
      oldest manuscript known so far, calls for renewed discussion about this
      matter. Unless the two recensions had indeed already split up in Greek, the
      short recension, and the oldest Slavonic manuscript U, have to be taken more
      seriously from now on.

      At the Enoch Seminar in Napels, Joost Hagen hopes to present his recent
      discovery in the presence of the very people who can hopefully contribute to
      an answer to these questions.

      Mr Joost L. Hagen MA (1978) studied Egyptology at Leiden University, the
      Netherlands, specializing in Coptic Egypt ...

      Best wishes
      Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
      Textcritical commentary:
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