Lot 1
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Gospel of Matthew, in Coptic

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  • Fragment of a text citing the Gospel of St Matthew, in Coptic. [Egypt, ca. 550-650 AD]
  • ink,paper,leather
Fragment on papyrus (ca. 6 5/8 x 4 1/2 in.; 170 x 115 mm). 17 lines each side

Catalogue Note

Part of a papyrus codex leaf with a rare Sahidic Coptic translation of a Greek-Christian text (possibly the life of a saint or a lectionary) citing part of the Gospel of Matthew: the recto begins with Matthew 9:15, while the verso begins with Matthew 26:21 and goes on with 26:24 (verso 3-4: "Alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!") for comment or example. The text of Matthew differs at several points from the received text. The fragment is inscribed in a fine Coptic uncial bookhand, and preserves a left margin on the recto and a right margin on the verso. The original leaf probably held two columns of text. Coptic translations of lives of the saints are well known. The hand bears some resemblance to the Saqqara Coptic Codices divided between Michigan and the Chester Beatty Library, which are dated by mint condition coins found with these to around 600 AD. This or sometime in the 2nd half of the preceding century indicates a possible date range for the fragment.