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Egyptian Papyrus Retells Biblical Story of Abraham and Isaac

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Papyrus Biblical Sacrifice


OXFORD, ENGLAND—Live Science reports that Michael Zellmann-Rohrer of Oxford University has translated a 1,500-year-old papyrus discovered near the pyramid of Pharaoh Senwosret I in 1934 by researchers from New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Zellmann-Rohrer said the “magical papyrus” describes the biblical story of the binding of Isaac, in which God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah. As the story is told in the biblical book of Genesis, God stopped Abraham from completing the sacrifice, but Zellmann-Rohrer said that in this text, written in Coptic, an Egyptian language that uses the Greek alphabet, the sacrifice was completed. Other known texts from antiquity relate the story in this way, Zellmann-Rohrer said. He also explained that the story had been copied onto the papyrus by multiple writers who were not likely to have been professional scribes. To read about early medieval Christian manuscripts in Egypt, go to "Recovering Hidden Texts."