Nag Hammadi Codex V and Late Antique Coptic Hagiographies. A Comparative Approach

Dias Chaves J.C.

The present dissertation deals with Nag Hammadi Codex V as the product of a late antique Coptic compilation. We compare it to another group of late antique Coptic texts, the hagiographies. This comparison shows the existence of many points of contact concerning literary themes and motifs between both of the corpora in question here. This demonstrates that a given Coptic reader – who knew the hagiographies in question – could also be interested in Codex V, since it displays many literary themes and motifs to which he was accustomed when reading Coptic hagiographies. Consequently, far from being a volume with a Gnostic and heterodox taste and alien to a Coptic context – as generally pictured by scholars – Codex V was very well placed in the literary environment of late antique Egypt. Moreover, following the theory of reception as it was theorized by Jauss – in particular the concept of “horizon of expectations” – we make use of these literary themes and motifs to interpret Codex V in the light of its Coptic context. In other words, we offer a Coptic reading of Codex V, instead of a «Gnostic» one.