The Ancient Historian

Ancient history, mountaineering, cycling and other outside adventures

The Coptic Jesus text

This new fourth century Coptic text is making the rounds in spectacular fashion, so it prompts me to say a few words.My first reaction to seeing it was that it could not be real, I am just cynical about such things. Very good scholars have actually seen the text though ( no substitute for inspection), and I respect their opinions. So far, reaction is mixed in the world of Coptic Studies, so we’ll see. It is indeed hard to imagine a scholarly fraud, as Roger Bagnall points out, But there was the famous “Batson D. Ceiling” affair in the late 80’s. There, it was a Demotic text, hand copy only, of the sayings of Jesus. That made it to the front pages of many newspapers. I’ll dig that out soon.

Script of papyrus from fourth century

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