A location of the first monastery of Saint PACHOMIUS, and though he and his successors soon lived in the second house established at PBOW, it still gives its name to the type of monasticism that he inaugurated. His monks were called Tabennesiotes, and the superior general was called either “archimandrite of Pbow” or “archimandrite of the Tabennesiotes.” The etymology of this Egyptian place-name was established by W. E. Crum (Vol. 2, no. 163, n. 8). The name means “sanctuary of Isis,” and this interpretation has been adopted by all Egyptologists (see, for example, Cerny, p. 353). The name survives elsewhere among Egyptian place-names under the form Tafnis.
Since the site disappeared very early, carried away by the floods of the Nile, to which it was very close, no ancient evidence remains. The first to investigate the Tabennese of Saint Pachomius on the spot appears to have been M. JULLIEN, who thought he would find its remains in the neighboring town of Dishna, a name that he ingeniously made the equivalent of Tabennese (1901, p. 251). This town is almost 20 miles (30 km) downstream from Qina.
In 1904 H. Gauthier proposed the same identification (pp. 86-87), but in 1912 he rejected it, both from a linguistic point of view and because the town of Dishna is too distant from Faw al-Qibli and thus does not agree with the texts (pp. 122-27). Finally, in 1939, L. T. Lefort, after setting out the solutions of his predecessors, showed that Tabennese must have been carried away by the Nile and must have been situated southwest of Pbow (pp. 393-97).
- Cerny, J. Coptic Etymological Dictionary. Cambridge, 1976.
- Crum, W. E. The Monastery of Epiphanius at Thebes, 2 vols. New York, 1926.
- Gauthier, H. “Notes géographiques sur le nome panopolite.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 4 (1904):39-101.
- . “Nouvelles notes géographiques sur le nome panopolite.” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’Archéologie orientale 10 (1912):89-130.
- Jullien, M. “A la recherche de Tabenne et des autres monastères fondés par saint Pachôme.” Etudes 89 (1901):238-58.
- Lefort, L. T. “Les Premiers monastères pachômiens. Exploration topographique.” Le Muséon 52 (1939):379-407.
- Sauneron, S. Villes et légendes d’Egypte. Cairo, 1974.