The translation of ΑΥϪΠΑΥ ΝΕΥ in Acts of Paul IX, 13

In the 1997 French edition of the Écrits apocryphes chrétiens (ed. Bovon and Geoltran), Rodolphe Kasser translated a phrase from the Coptic Bodmer XLI of Acts of Paul IX, 13 (p. 1155), “les hommes ont contracté ces pestes” (“the humans acquired these plagues”).  It would be another seven years before Kasser would publish the editio princeps of Bodmer XLI, and he now translates this phrase (R. Kasser and P. Luisier, Le Muséon 117 [2004]):  “les (hommes) se les ont acquis” (“the (humans) acquired them for themselves”);  ΑΥϪΠΑΥ ΝΕΥ (literally: “they acquired them for themselves”).

It would appear that Kasser’s “pestes” (plagues) represents “all the things that were mentioned above” through which the humans have died.  What are these things?  Gold, silver, precious stones, fornications, adulteries and drunkeness.  Yet the neither the Coptic nor the Greek texts name these things “plagues”, as Kasser has interpreted.  It would be inaccurate since the created world for the Acts of Paul is good and so even though the lust and acquisition of the first three, gold, silver and precious stones, leads to death, it is not caused by the created things themselves but by the sin of humanity against the Creator.  The Acts of Paul is an anti-gnostic text, and it should not be translated in a manner which leads the reader to think that the text would denigrate created matter.


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