University of Pennsylvania Museum E 16403
IN PRAISE OF MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL Papyrus, Greek
[copyright Robert A. Kraft, 8 September 1998] 13.8 x 11 cm
WORKING DRAFT: Still to do --
This single sheet of papyrus is written on both sides, with the upper margin on side one (written along the fibers) and the lower margin on side two (written perpendicular to the fibers) partly preserved, since the text on side two is upside down in relation to side one (that is, after side one is read the piece must be turned on its horizontal axis to read side two correctly). The left and right margins are also mostly intact. There is no sure way to determine how many lines are missing in the middle part, unless a close parallel to that part of the text is discovered.
The rather neat uncial handwriting (misidentified as "Coptic" in the older Museum inventory), slanting noticeably to the right, is difficult to date with any precision, but probably falls within the general period of the 5th through 8th centuries. The abbreviated form of καί in lines 2-3 and 12, as well as some other paleographical features, resemble liturgical texts from that period, especially from the Fayum. The text includes what appear to be punctuation marks (lines 2, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14), as well as some other marks (lines 1, 4, 8, 9, and 15 [perhaps a dieresis on the final iota]), and the first letter of line 9 extends uniquely into the left margin. The first few markings in the margin above line one (and possibly the final two letters on the last line) have been identified (Grassien) as musical notations.
This is a "liturgical" piece, possibly serving as a "script" for the leader of a ritual or ceremony in honor of the archangel Michael. Reverence for Michael was widespread in Egypt (and elsewhere) in this period, as the appended bibliography attests. Other examples on papyri include P.Rainer 19879 and 19880 (6th century?), and on parchment P.Gr.Vind 19886 (early 5th century?). Budge (Miscellaneous Coptic Texts ..., 1915; Saint Michael the Archangel ..., 1894) and Hyvernat (Bibliothecae Pierpont Morgan, codices coptici..., 1922) also list numerous literary pieces from the 4th century and later devoted in part or entirely to praising the archangel Michael. In some areas, the 12th day of every month seems to have been dedicated to Michael.
side 1 (along the fibers)
(top = side 2 bottom)
. . . . .
side 2 (against the fibers)
(bottom = side 1 top)
]...[ ].ΨΙΣ 7
[] Δεῦτε προσκυνήσομεν
[] κ(αὶ) προσπεύσομεν αὐτοῦ
[] κ(αὶ) συνημνήσομεν·
ὁ χορὸς [] τῶν ἀγγέλλων
[] Χαίρε Μιχαηλ
ὁ μέγας λι[τουργός . . . ]
. . . .
[] . . .]ιστη[ ] ὑψίσ[]της εἰκὼν
εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας·-
[] Ἅπας τῶν ἀγγέλλων
ὁ χορὸς [] κιθομένοι
δοξάσουσιν [] τὸν στεφανούσαντα·
Ἀρ[]χὴ κ(αὶ) τῶν ἀγγέλλων
Σὺν σο[ι] [] ἀναμέλποντες
ὑμνήσ[ομεν κ(αὶ)] [] βοοῦμεν·
τριστά[της] [] τῶν ἁπάντων ια
1 Come, let us bow down
and let us fall before him
and let us sing together
3 While the chorus of angels
5 Hail, Michael
the great fu[nctionary...]
. . .
7 ... exalted image
9 As the entire chorus
of angels assists
they glorify the one who
has crowned (them):
11 ARCHE even of the angels.
With yo[u], as we raise a song
[we] sing a hymn and cry out:
14 Holy are you
Captain of the entirety (?).
notation: the letters Χ and Δ' are clear, but
the gamma-like strokes that precede the delta might possibly be
an abbreviation (for ΕΙΣ?) or something else;
compare P.Berlin 1326 (BKT 6: 7th c. Christmas Liturgy)
which begins similarly with Χ on its own line
followed by ΕΙΣ Α'Δ' on the next line
[W. Schubart, Papyri Graecae Berolinensis (Bonn 1911)
comments "quae ad melodiam spectare videntur"]
lines 1-2: Ps 94(95).6 προσκυνήσωμεν . . . προσπέσωμεν αὐτῷ
line 1: supralinear mark (`) over the initial Δ
lines 2-3: an abbreviated form of καί is used (also line 12)
line 4: τῶν ἀγγέλλον in text
line 5: for the reconstruction λιτουργός, see P.Ranier 19879
(6th c. Prayer/Hymn to Michael), line 10, where Michael is addressed
(vocative) as λιτουργὲ τοῦ ὑψίστου.
line 6: some traces of ink seem to be preserved
line 7: for εἰκών language associated with Michael, see the
Coptic/Sahidic version of Theodosius' Encomium to Michael
(6th century), section 2.
line 8: On the left and slightly below the line are some faint markings,
perhaps A' preceded by one or two other indecipherable (and erased?) letters.
line 9: The initial letter extends into the left margin. τὸν ἀγγέλλον in text
line 10: read κινουμένοι (?), or a form of κιθαρίζειν
lines 11-13: Morton Smith made valuable suggestions on how to
read these lines
line 12: ἀγγέλλον in text
lines 12f: for Michael as ἀρχή, see P.Ranier 19880
(undated; Prayer/Hymn to Michael), lines 1-3,
where Michael (apparently) is referred to as
ἀρχὴ κατεστάθη (established as Arche).
line 13: compare P.Ranier 19880 line 9
ὑμνοῦσίν σε ἅγιος (the angels hymn you as holy).
line 15 (end): the final letters Ι+Α (with dieresis)seem probable; perhaps
they represent a form of ἰᾶσθαι "Heal!" -- or possibly
special notations (the number "11" ?) such as occur at the start of the piece.
An abbreviation for the tetragrammaton seems quite unlikely.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: GENERAL ARTICLES
"Michael the Archangel, St.," in Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (2nd ed, 1974) 913.
[general, special attention to impact on western churches]
"Michael, archangel," in Oxford Dictionary of Saints (1987) 300f.
[general, special attention to British Isles]
R. H. Charles, "Michael ...," in Hastings Dictionary of the Bible 3(1900) 362f.
T. L. Fallon, "Michael, Archangel," in New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967) 793-95.
[general: bible, cult, art (with 4 pictures)]
J. Michl, et al., "Michael," in Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 27(19 ) 393-95.
[detailed sections on literary references, iconography,
popular impact, religious community connections]
H. Leclercq, "Michel (Culte de Saint)," in Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie 11 (1933) 903-907
[focus on impact in the west].
E. Lohse and E. Dinkler-v.Schubert, "Michael, Erzengel," in
Religion im Geschichte und Gegenwart (3rd ed ?? 19??) 932f [backgrounds in Judaism (incl. Qumran,
rabbinic); impact on liturgy, cult and art]
A. Penna, et al., "Michael ...," in Enciclopedia Cattolica 8(1952) 948-54.
[G.Loew, E. Josi, ... not yet examined]
R. S., "Michael the Archangel, and All Angels, Festival of,"
in Dictionary of Christian Antiquities (1880) 1176.
[developments and oppositions in Christianity]
F. Spadafora & M. G. Mara, "...," in Bibliotheca Sanctorum 9 (Rome, 1967) 410-46.
SPECIAL STUDIES (chronologically)
C. Stengeli, De Michaelis archangeli principatu, apparationibus,
templis, cultu et miraculis (Aug. Vind., 1629).
J. B. Mai, De Festo Michaelis (Kilon., 1698).
F. D. Haeberlin, Selecta quaedam de S. Michaelis archangeli
festis et cultu ... (Helmstad, 1758).
W. Lueken, Michael: Eine Darstellung und Vergleichung der
juedischen und der morgenlaendisch-christlichen Tradition vom
Erzengel Michael (Goettingen: V & R, 1898).
Olga Rojdestvensky, Le Culte de Saint Michel et le moyen a^ge
latin (Paris, 1922).
A. M. Renner, Der Erzangel Michael in der Geistes- und
Kunstgeschichte (Saarbruecken, 1927).
A. A. Bialas, The Patronage of Saint Michael the Archangel
J. Lemarie/, "Textes liturgiques concernant le culte de
S. Michel," Sacris Erudiri 14(1963) 277-85.
J. Danie/lou, Les anges et leur mission (1952).
James McKinnon, Music in early Christian literature
(Cambridge: Univ. Press, 1987); esp 1Clem 34.5ff, Orig Cels 8.67
C. D. G. Mueller, Die Engellehre der kopt. Kirche (Vienna, 1959)
Caspar D. G. Mueller, Books of Michael and Gabriel (1962).
[CSCO Coptic 225-226: 231.4C/C815.3/31-32]
C. Detlef G. Mueller, Buecher der Einsetzung der Erzangel Michael und
Gabriel (Louvain, 1962).
J. P. Rohland, Der Erzengel Michael Arzt und Feldherr (Leiden, 1977).
Céline Grassien, "Deux hymnes et une litanie chrétiennes
byzantines conservées par le P.Rainer Cent. 31 et cinq autres témoins"
(Tafel 1-6), Tyche 12 (1997) 51ff.
Céline Grassien, Les hymnes chrétiennes dans les papyrus (Préparation d'un doctorat à Paris IV-Sorbonne).
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