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Durham e-Theses
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The works of Besa, from a MS in the British Museum (Or.8810): edited with translation and commentary

Kuhn, K. H. (1952) The works of Besa, from a MS in the British Museum (Or.8810): edited with translation and commentary. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The portion of the Sahidic MS, BM Or.8810, containing Besa's writings is part of a parchment codex probably dating from the 8th century. The edition of it, together with a translation, forms the main part of the thesis. The MS contains epistles by Besa admonishing and exhorting his monks and nuns. Fragments of other writings by Besa are extant, most of which are unpublished. A study of them, and of BM Or.8810, has yielded material for an appraisal of the life and work of Besa and has thrown light on an important section of Coptic monasticism of the 5th century. Besa was a monk under Shenoute who appointed him to b his successor as abbot of the White Monastery (about 451 A.D.). Throughout his life, Besa continued to be strongly influenced by Shenoute's example, and by the Bible, and by his respect for monastic tradition. His essentially mild and peace-loving character was moulded by his high sense of duty towards God and his charges, enabling him to carry out his task of governing the monastery.From BM Or.8810 it can be seen how prominent a place Biblical quotations and allusions occupy in Besa's writings. An investigation of their text provides material for the study of the Sahidic Bible. Besa's use of the Bible is always subordinated to the subject-matter of his epistles. Besa’s writings, though not theological treatises, give some idea of his religious beliefs. His preoccupation with ethical teaching causes him to emphasise God's Judgment and lays him open to the charge of having neglected the importance of Christ's redemptive work.Of monastic life in Besa's day, his writings tell something of the ideal of fellowship, the vow, the renunciation of property, separation from the world, organisation, discipline, moral standards, work, the monks' charitable ministrations to laymen, religious exercises, and worship.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1952
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:57

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