Abraham Persa


The Sahidic text published by E. O. Winstedt in The Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology (1908, with the variants of the two folios: W. E. Crum, 1905, No. 318 and G. Zoega, 1810, No. 222, from a copy by O. von Lemm) is probably part of an encomium. Among other things, it deals with an Abraham in Mesopotamia, who was preserved from the fire of King Shapur (Sapor) by an angel of God. If the name Shapur were not here, on the basis of the context as a whole, one would inevitably think of the patriarch Abraham and the extrabiblical tale of his rescue from the fire of Nimrod.

Crum refers to the Persian martyr Abraham, who met his death in the reign of Shapur II. Winstedt, who very clearly sees the difference between the Coptic text and the information on the Persian martyr and bishop of Arbela, remarks, “The Coptic writer may well have attributed to the Persian martyr sufferings similar to those which the patriarch was said to have endured at the hands of Nimrod, just as he refers David’s words about the patriarch to the saint” (p. 233). There is also the possibility that the patriarch Abraham is intended, and that the for some reason has given the name of Shapur, an enemy of the Christians, to Abraham’s adversary.

  • Crum, W. E. of the Coptic Manuscripts in the British Museum, p. 141. London, 1905.
  • Delehaye, H. “Les Versions grecques des actes des martyrs persans sous Sapor II.” In Patrologia Orientalis, Vol. 2, pp. 450-51.
  • Lucchesi, G. Bibliotheca Sanctorum 1 (1961):112ff.
  • Peeters, P. “Le Passionare d’Abiabène.” Analecta Bollandiana 43 (1925):271-72.
  • Spadafora, F. Bibliotheca Sanctorum ser. 1 (1961): 89-106, esp. p. 98.
  • Winstedt, E. O. “Coptic Saints and I. Abraham.” The Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 30 (1908):231-37, 276-83 (on Zoega’s Catalogus Codicum 222, see pp. 282ff).
  • Zoega, G. Catalogus Codicum Copticorum Manu-Scriptorum qui in Museo Borgiano Veletris adservantur, p. 548. Rome, 1810. Repr., Hildesheim, 1973.