A lost history of Christian communities: unidentified Greek homilies on papyrus in Egypt during the 4th-7th centuries CE
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 13:48 authored by Alexander Wood
Unidentified homilies on papyrus provide information concerning the use and users of the manuscripts, and indicate the theology taught during the early years of Christianity. This thesis aims to investigate homilies of unknown authorship dating to the 4th–7th Centuries CE, written in Greek and found in Egypt, a corpus which has not previously been collected or discussed in full. This investigation has two main emphases: 1. An examination of the papyri as physical objects, concentrating in particular on what this may tell us about their production and use; 2. An analysis of the content of the papyri and its relation to religion, literary culture, and scribal practice in late antique Egypt. The multitude of various lectional aids including stops, colons, dieresis and breathings indicate that the papyri were used for reading aloud. Baptism and evil were the two most common themes throughout the corpus, which indicates that these were concerns for the composers and preachers during this period. These themes were revealed through a close analysis of the citations which indicates that the focus of the homilies ranged from exegetical to instructional and pastoral.