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APOCRYPHAL ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, Philip and Peter in Phrygia, in Sahidic Coptic, manuscript on vellum [Egypt, 9th or 10th century]
APOCRYPHAL ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, Philip and Peter in Phrygia, in Sahidic Coptic, manuscript on vellum [Egypt, 9th or 10th century]
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APOCRYPHAL ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, Philip and Peter in Phrygia, in Sahidic Coptic, manuscript on vellum [Egypt, 9th or 10th century]

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APOCRYPHAL ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, Philip and Peter in Phrygia, in Sahidic Coptic, manuscript on vellum [Egypt, 9th or 10th century]

A rare testament to the Sahidic version of the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles, from what would once have been a sumptuous codex surviving today only in three fragments.

A fragment, 330 x 200mm (at its widest point), preserving almost the entirety of one of two columns of 35 lines written in brown ink in a superb Coptic uncial, large capitals in the margins, penwork arabesques as line-fillers (losses affecting text, especially to right-hand column, marginal staining, fraying, text on reverse faded). Blue folder by Aquarius.


Provenance:
(1) From the same parent codex as two other fragments in European institutional collections: Leiden University Library Cod. Or. 14.331 and Catalonia, Abbey of Montserrat, P. Monts. Roca 323, which are both part of the same leaf.

(2) Erik Edzard Floris Folkard von Scherling (1907-1956): no 2212 in his Rotulus: A bulletin for Manuscript collectors, V, 1949, described with the fragment now in Leiden University Library. Son of the Swedish Consul at Rotterdam, von Scherling worked for the bookseller Jacob Ginsberg in Leiden, where he specialised in Oriental books, and learnt Latin and Arabic. By the age of 21 he was dealing in manuscripts on his own account and already had an international clientele. The 18 leaves of transcription which accompany the documentation of the present lot are likely in his hand.

(3) Laurence C. Witten III (1926-1995), American rare book dealer and collector of antiquities. Witten sold the Leiden fragment to Dr Jan Just Witkam, then curator of Oriental collections at Leiden Univeristy Library in November 1975. The present fragment was sold to:

(4) Sam Fogg Rare Books Ltd.

(5) Schøyen Collection, MS 2007.


Text:
The fragment contains the end of the Acts of Philip and Peter (BHO 975-976; CANT 252), in Sahidic, with the story of a young man attacked by the devil and the conversion of the Phrygians by the apostles Peter and Philip. The same apocryphal text is also preserved fragmentarily in Bohairic, and in its entirety in Arabic and Ethiopic. The text corresponds to the Arabic and Ethiopic versions published in A. Smith Lewis, The Mythological Acts of the Apostles, London, 1904; E.A. Wallis Budge, The Contending of the Apostles, London, 1901. A Sahidic parallel to the text of the present fragment can be found in Paris BnF Copte 129, ff.104-105.


Bibliography:
A. Suciu, ‘Three dispersed fragments from a Coptic manuscript of the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles’, Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, 49 (2012), pp.241-250
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These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Eugenio Donadoni
Eugenio Donadoni

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