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European Science Foundation ranking A

Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum / Journal of Ancient Christianity

Ed. by Brennecke, Hanns Christof / Drecoll, Volker Henning / Heil, Uta / Markschies, Christoph

Together with Elm, Susanna / Gemeinhardt, Peter / Meier, Mischa / Perrone, Lorenzo / Pollmann, Karla / Riedweg, Christoph / Schöllgen, Georg / Williams, Rowan / Wischmeyer, Wolfgang

3 Issues per year

Cite Score 2016: 0.12

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.131
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.145

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Volume 14, Issue 2


„Streck dich nicht mit einer Verheirateten zum Weingelage hin“ (Sir 9,9a) Edition von P.Vindob. K. 9670

Hans Förster
  • FWF-Projekt „Coptic John“ (P 22017-G15), Institut für Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft und Biblische Archäologie, Evangelisch-Theologische Fakultät, Schenkenstraße 8-10, 5. OG/Zimmer 05, AT – 1010 Wien
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Published Online: 2011-01-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zac.2010.14


In this article, a parchment preserving a fragment of a Coptic homily is published. The fragment presents an interesting account of the temptation of a man by his business partner's wife. The scene is modelled on the story of the temptation of Joseph by Potiphar's wife. She is alone at home when he arrives. She offers him food and wine. During the meal she gets drunk and wants to sleep with her husband's business partner. The man rejects her proposition. The story describes her wish to sleep with him, which arose under the influence of alcohol, as a temptation under the influence of the devil. However, the story has a curious twist. Both the woman and the man argue in favour of their respective behaviours. The woman says that she wants to conceive a child with this man as she has been married for a long time and still has not conceived a child. Thus, the topic of childlessness and its tragedy in the ancient world is introduced. Curiously, the man, who does not want to commit adultery with the woman, does not argue that adulterous behaviour would be immoral. Instead, he states that he has signed an agreement with the husband in the sanctuary of the archangel Gabriel and that this makes it impossible for him to do as the woman wishes. He fears for his life should he behave in this way, since it would break the contract. This superstition of a divine punishment for breaking an oath is also known from other homilies, as well as from the oaths contained in numerous contracts which include the punishment of “Ananias and Sapphira”. Thus, the contract between him and his business partner seems to be more than a normal contract of a simple business transaction, such as the sale of property, since it also includes adulterous behaviour. She tries to draw him to herself. In the ensuing struggle the woman is struck by the man and falls dead to the ground. A prayer to the archangel Gabriel, who is asked to remedy somehow this precarious situation, and the promise never to touch wine again if the angel graciously helps, concludes what remains of the story on the parchment. Thus, this homily is either a homily glorifying the archangel Gabriel or a homily in honour of this honest man.

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Published Online: 2011-01-28

Published in Print: 2010-12-01

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum, Volume 14, Issue 2, Pages 273–305, ISSN (Online) 1612-961X, ISSN (Print) 0949-9571, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zac.2010.14.

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