Mighty deeds and miracles by Saint Apa Phoebammon

Anthony the Great, Pachomius the Great, Shenoute
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Shenoute
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Mighty deeds and miracles by Saint Apa Phoebammon

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I have read K. Verrone's Mighty deeds and miracles by Saint Apa Phoebammon, an edition of a short text found in Ms. Pierpont Morgan M582 from Hamuli, in the Fayum. The book has been made available on Alin Suciu's blog.

The text is a collection of around ten miracles performed post mortem by Phoibammon of Preht, a soldier put to death during the reign of Diocletian.
The miracles are rather short and similar to what can be found elsewhere but they make for easy-ish reading material. Especially since Verrone's edition comes with facing English translation and notes for non-standard Sahidic features.

Miracle n°1. Phoibammon's relics cure emperor Theodosius' daughter.

21r° B, l.5: Sahidic as used in the Hamuli manuscripts shows occasional Fayumic influences, most notably maybe variation between ⲟ/ⲁ and ϥ/ⲃ (for instance, Sahidic ⲣⲟⲙⲡⲉ vs. Fayumic ⲣⲁⲙⲡⲉ "year", Sahidic ϥⲓ vs. Fayumic ⲃⲓ "carry"). But the scribe of the Mighty deeds sometimes goes the other way round, writing ⲛⲙ̄ⲙⲟϥ "with him" for Standard Sahidic ⲛⲙ̄ⲙⲁϥ. Maybe that's a case of hypercorrection. The scribe, being used to "correct" his native Fayumic ⲁ into Sahidic ⲟ, might have thought of ⲛⲙ̄ⲙⲁϥ as not Sahidic enough, thus writing ⲛⲙ̄ⲙⲟϥ.
Later, he writes the "normal" Sahidic form ⲛⲙ̄ⲙⲁⲛ, and not ⲛⲙ̄ⲙⲟⲛ, but also ⲛⲙ̄ⲙⲟⲓ instead of ⲛⲙ̄ⲙⲁⲓ (23r° b, l.11).

21r° b, l.13: ⲕⲁⲧⲁ ⲟⲩϫⲱⲛϥ ⲇⲉ ⲛⲧⲉ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲛⲉ ⲡϣⲁ ⲡⲉ ⲙⲡⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩⲣⲟⲥ ⲉⲧⲟⲩⲁⲁⲃ ⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ "According to a fate from God, it was the feast of the holy martyr Apa Phoebammon." There is no predicate in the sentence, just the imperfect converter ⲛⲉ...ⲡⲉ and the subject.

21v° A, l.20: the editor has ⲛⲅⲥⲡⲥⲡ ⲉⲭ︦ⲥ︦ "and you entreat Christ". The use of ⲭ︦ⲥ︦ without definite article is unusal so I guess this should be read ⲛⲅⲥⲡⲥ ⲡⲉⲭ︦ⲥ︦, with the prenominal form of ⲥⲟⲡⲥ instead of ⲥⲟⲡⲥⲡ. The manuscript has ⲥⲡⲥ̄ (actually with a dot between ⲡ and ⲥ but I don't think the forum supports this), which seems to confirm this reading since the prenominal form of ⲥⲟⲡⲥⲡ would be ⲥⲡ̄ⲥⲡ̄, not ⲥⲡⲥ̄ⲡ.

Shenoute
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Re: Mighty deeds and miracles by Saint Apa Phoebammon

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Miracle n°2. Someone thinks it's a good idea to steal a small golden cross hanging from Phoibammon's coffin.

f°22v A, l.19-22
The robber is certainly well-meaning. He went to Phoibammon's sanctuary and wants the cross not for personal gain but to offer it to his son. His naivety is almost refreshing:
ⲁⲗⲏⲑⲱⲥ ϯⲛⲁϥⲓ ⲙⲡⲉⲓⲥ̄⳨ⲟ︤ⲥ︥ ⲧⲁⲧⲁⲁϥ ⲉⲡⲙⲟⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲁϣⲏⲣⲉ ϩⲙⲡⲉⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲙⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲫⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ
"Truly, I will take this cross and place it on the neck of my child with Saint Phoebammon's blessing".
What could possibly go wrong!

f°22v B, l. 7-8
ⲛ̄ⲧⲉϥϩⲉ ⲧⲉϥϩⲉ "as it always was". The writer was certainly found of this expression which comes back several times (just a few lines below, f°22v B, l. 20-21 for instance).

f°22v B, l. 34
ⲛⲁ ⲛⲁⲓ ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ ⲛⲁⲡⲁ ⲫⲟⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ "Have mercy on me, God of Apa Phoibammon!"
The expression "God of Saint X" is very common in Coptic texts, much more so, it seems to me, than in their Latin counterparts. Not sure there is some great civilisational/theological insight to be derived from this but I find the difference interesting.

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mahasacham
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Re: Mighty deeds and miracles by Saint Apa Phoebammon

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ⲁⲗⲏⲑⲱⲥ ϯⲛⲁϥⲓ ⲙⲡⲉⲓⲥ̄⳨ⲟ︤ⲥ︥ ⲧⲁⲧⲁⲁϥ ⲉⲡⲙⲟⲧⲉ ⲙⲡⲁϣⲏⲣⲉ ϩⲙⲡⲉⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲙⲡϩⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲫⲓⲃⲁⲙⲱⲛ
ⲧⲁⲧⲁⲁϥ is an interesting usage. I would have expected ϩⲓϫⲙ̅.

Prepositions offer some of the most interesting aspects of a language.

Shenoute
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Re: Mighty deeds and miracles by Saint Apa Phoebammon

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ⲧⲁⲧⲁⲁϥ here is the conjunctive 1st p. sg. "...and I will give it...". Usually, you see ⲛ̄ⲧⲁ- but ⲧⲁ- is very common too.

But I agree, prepositions are tricky :)

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Re: Mighty deeds and miracles by Saint Apa Phoebammon

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Miracle n°3. A farmer is prevented by his boss to go to Phoibammon's sanctuary, but piety finds a way and is rewarded with a special bottle of wine.

23r° A, l. 8. ⲧⲙⲉϩⲙⲉⲛϫⲙⲏⲛⲉ for the usual ⲧⲙⲉϩⲙⲉⲛⲧϣⲙⲏⲛⲉ. A remainder of the ⲧϣ/ϫ change which can be seen at work in common verbs which were formed with causative ⲧ-, like ϫⲡⲟ "to beget" (<*ⲧ-ϣⲱⲡⲉ "to make come into existence") or ϫⲡⲓⲟ "to blame" (< *ⲧ-ϣⲓⲡⲉ " to make be ashamed").

23r° A, l. 12. The editor put a note, correcting ⲉⲛⲉⲁϥϭⲉ ⲡⲗⲟⲓϭⲉ to ⲛⲉⲁϥϭⲉ ⲡⲗⲟⲓϭⲉ but I don't really see the need for this. On the other hand, the form ϭⲉ, apparently for ϭⲉⲛ/ϭⲛ̄, could have warranted a footnote, especially since the editor signals even the slightest variation from standard Sahidic (even things like ϩⲉⲛ/ϩⲛ̄).

23r° A, l. 25. ⲙⲡⲉⲕϩⲓ ⲛⲛⲁϫⲛⲟⲟⲩ ⲉⲩⲛⲏϫ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϩⲛ ⲧⲥⲱϣⲉ "...nor have you beaten my threshing-floors that are lying ready in the field."
Maybe ϫⲛⲟⲟⲩ is "grain" here instead of "threshing-floors"? It seems to fit the "lying in the field" part better.

24r° B, l. 26 ⲛ̄ⲧⲉⲣⲉϥⲉⲓ ⲉϥⲛⲁⲓⲱ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ⲛⲗⲁⲕⲟⲟⲧⲉ "When he was about to wash the bottle..."
The author seems quite fond of this construction, using the verbe ⲉⲓ "to come" together with a Circumstancial 1st Future to express "being about to".

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