Review of Anne Boud’hors, Le canon 8 de Chénouté : d’après le manuscrit Ifao Copte 2 et les fragments complémentaires

Document Type : review papers



The writings of Shenute who was between about 385 and 465 the head of a monastery in Upper Egypt, known as the ‘White Monastery’ or ‘Monastery of Shenute’, have been massively revealed when the remains of the monastery’s library were discovered in the 1880s. The few hundred manuscripts kept in this library were quickly cut up and dismantled and are now scattered in collections worldwide, often in a very fragmentary state. Copies of Shenute’s works (about one hundred) have known the same fate. Stephen Emmel has shown how these works were structured1 : eight volumes of Discourses (in Coptic ⲗⲟⲅⲟⲥ) addressed to various people, and nine volumes of Canons (ⲕⲁⲛⲱⲛ) intended for monastic communities, and a correspondence. The most complete witness of volume 8 of Shenute’s Canons is kept, for its most part, in the IFAO (French Institute of Oriental Archaeology) in Cairo, and known as « Ifaocopte 2 ». It belonged to the library of the White Monastery. A few other fragments are now in the French National Library in Paris, the National Library of Naples and the British Library in London. Manuscript known as IfaoCopte 2 is the best kept witness of the collections of sermons by Shenute and maybe even of all the manuscripts that once belonged to the library of the White Monastery (128 leaves out of 160 are preserved). It is the critical edition and translation of this manuscript that Anne Boud’hors offers in this book.

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