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Ostrakon with Texts from the Bible

Date:
580–640
Geography:
Made in Thebes, Byzantine Egypt
Culture:
Coptic
Medium:
Pottery fragment with ink inscription
Classification:
Ceramics
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1914
Accession Number:
14.1.81
  • Description

    Ostraca are texts written on broken pottery, which were employed when parchment was unavailable or too expensive. At Epiphanius a large number of ostraca were discovered in the monastery, including in its rubbish heaps; they record biblical verses, legal documents, sermons, financial accounts, school texts, and letters requesting assistance and prayers. Some reveal that, even at the southernmost border of the Empire, people were still aware of events in the capital, Constantinople.

    Ostracon with Texts from the Bible
    This is one of the largest Coptic ostraca known. It records two sections of the Bible: most of Job’s final plea for the return of his life to its earlier, better condition (Job 29:1–30:7) and the description of Hezekiah’s illness and recovery (Isaiah 38:1–20), both events occurring by the grace of God.

  • Provenance

    from Cell A of the Monastery of Epiphanius at Thebes

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
473396:1

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