ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 46 (2009) 229-234
Alain Delattre, Papyrus coptes et grecs du monastere d'apa Apoll6 de
Baouit conserves aux Musees royaux d'art et d'histoire de Bruxelles.
Memoires de la Classe des lettres, Collection in-8Â~, 3e serie, tome 43.
Brussels: Academie royale de Belgique, 2007. 333 pages + 14 plates.
The main focus of this book, a revised version of Delattre's 2004 dissertation at the Universite libre de Bruxelles, is the publication of 60 texts attributed
to the monastery of Apa Apollo at Bawit' and dated to the sixth to eighth
centuries AD. All except two of these texts are first editions (the two re-edited
texts are: BKU3.508 = 22 and SB Kopt. 1.42 = 26). Of the new editions the vast
majority are from Brussels, hence the title of the book (P.Brux.Bawit), and were
acquired by Albert Demulling (pp. 14ff.). In addition to these are four previously unpublished texts from other collections (23-25 and 27). This study is
part of the resurgence of interest in Bawit over the past decade, which includes
the edition of Cldat's excavation report,2 O.Bawit IFAO, new excavations at
the site by the Louvre and the IFAO (p. 31), and two monographs by the late
Sarah Clackson: P.Mon.Apollo and It is Our Father Who Writes.
The study is divided into two main sections: the background information
needed to understand these documents and the texts themselves. The importance of this study, particularly from a non-Copticist's perspective, lies largely
in the extensive discussion of the monastery in the first section, which comprises approximately a quarter of the book. Here Delattre takes an interdisciplinary approach, using archaeological,3 literary, epigraphic, and documentary
evidence to reconstruct the founding, physical layout, organisation, economy,
and religious life of the monastery. A number of key points deserve mention.
1 A series of payment orders are identified as certainly from Bawit, primarily on the
basis of prosopographical links with published texts known to be from the site (see,
for example, the reedited 25, signed by the superior Georgios and written by the scribe
Mousaiou [p. 131]). However, not all texts can be so securely identified. This is made
especially clear with 48-53, "Fragments of Uncertain Provenance" which are only tentatively linked to Bawit. Therefore, while internal and external criteria suggest a certain
provenance for some texts, it must be remembered that this is not certain for all, and
some caution is needed.
2 J. Clkdat, Le monastere et la nicropole de Baouit (Le Caire 1999). Texts in this volume
are referred to as O.Bawit.
3 In this respect, Delattre notes that his work is but a prelude to the publication in
progress by Benazeth, under whom excavations have taken place at the site since 2002,
in conjunction with the IFAO.