Critical examination of Codex VIII

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2022

23 Pages, Grade: A

Abstract or Introduction

This paper deals with the critical examination of Codex VIII.

According to James Robinson in his book The Coptic Gnostic Library he writes, Nag Hammadi Codex VIII (CG VIII, NHC VIII), the manuscript was formerly numbered Codex VII by Doresse Mina, IX by Puech, and IV by Doresse, Les Livres secrets as can be seen from Robinson, Facsimile Edition: Codex VIII, pp. vii and ix. Papyrus codex were very imperfect with original folios of 242 mm high and 147 mm wide. Before conservation many leaves or leaf fragments of the codex were in several pieces which have now been restored. Before 1961, the text block was attached to its ancient binding, or in loose fragments but later completely disbound, and the quire sheets cut apart into leaves in 1961, however, they were rejoined between 1970 and 1976, and are conserved in plexiglas frames, with the ancient codex page numbers.

The ancient binding is kept separately (inv. 10550). One hundred twenty-six fragments of cartonnage have been taken away from the binding and are also preserved separately (Facsimile Edition: Cartonnage, 59 to 70; Barns Browne Shelton, Nag Hammadi Codices: Cartonnage, 87 to 102, transcribing 43 fragments; 83 other fragments were too small to be transcribed). In original form, the text block (in a single quire) consisted of 74 leaves of which two were flyleaves, two were stubs, and two constituted a blank protective bifolium at the center of the quire; of these, 70 leaves (many imperfect) have remained of which two are flyleaves, one a stub, one a blank shielding leaf at the center; together with 119 un-ascertained fragments, mostly very small. The text block has been damaged by insects, rotting, and at the fold by the wearing away influence of the leather binding; leaves sometimes show offset (leaving traces useful for repairing of lost text), stains, or rubbing. In general, less papyrus remains near the fold than at the fore-edge, and the damage is most complete about half way through the text and there are indications that the manuscript was already in this damaged form when it was discovered in 1945 (Facsimile Edition: Codex VIII, pi. 3 to 6).


Critical examination of Codex VIII
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Dr. L. Mwansa (Author), 2022, Critical examination of Codex VIII, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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