ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 45 (2008) 277-284
Matthias Westerhoff, Auferstehung und Jenseits im koptischen "Buch
der Auferstehung Jesu Christi, unseres Herrn." Orientalia Biblica et
Christiana, Band 11. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1999. xv + 396 pages.
In this monograph (originating in a Halle dissertation of 1997) Westerhoff (= W) presents the Coptic text of the Liber Bartholomaei with a new
translation on facing pages and a detailed interpretation of its main features.
The text is based on a careful study of the three manuscripts: A and B, both
fragmentary, and C, which lacks a substantial part of the text. Both the text and
the translation are presented synoptically, which facilitates comparison of the
three versions in the original and in translation. The handwritten Coptic text
imitates the script of manuscript C and is generally pleasant to read, although
eta and pi could have been more distinctive. The translation, as far as I am able
to judge, is generally sound.2 The interpretative chapters following the text
and translation contain a wealth of material elucidating the text in detail and
overall. Unfortunately the detailed comments are not easy to locate when one
is reading the text and stumbles on a problem.3 This could have been prevented
by more frequent cross-references. In what follows I will use the numbering
of the sections of the text introduced by W
The LB consists of a series of narratives about Easter to underscore the truly cosmic consequences of the resurrection. First comes the passion of Christ
(sections 1-6; only partially preserved; the first extant scene is the Last Supper,
'This review was originally commissioned for Orientalia Lovaniensia Periodica, now
defunct. I am glad to offer it to one of my predecessors as editor of BASP.
2 The very first words preserved in manuscript C, para kairos, are translated on p. 61
as "zur rechten Zeit" (cf. p. 321). One expects rather "unexpectedly." On the same page
"ging" has dropped out of the sentence "Der Tod aber herauf zum Grab des Erl6sers." In
the first column on p. 81 one "Lebendigen" belongs in the second column opposite.
3 A few examples. There is something amiss in the order of angels in Hymn 4 (section 49). An explanation for this is offered in note 171 on p. 259. Hymn 5 (section 50)
contains a divine name, Abriath. This is explained in note 38 on p. 275. There are more
nomina barbara in the text. Comments on them are made throughout the book, but
there is no direct way to get from the text to the comment. The title of the LB (section
83) precedes the finale. A deft explanation for this (the parallel offered by the Gospel of
John) is offered in note 23 on p. 203.