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Sunday, February 28, 2010

An English translation of a small portion of The Qalémentos

Earlier this month I became aware of a document (or collection of documents) called The Qalémentos (or Pseudo-Clement). I have had great difficulty in determining its origin, but from what I can make out, it survives in Ethiopic (or perhaps Coptic) mss. which are in the possession of Ethiopian Orthodox churches. The surviving text is thought to have been translated from Arabic (apparently it was among a large batch of Christian texts translated from Arabic into Ethiopic or Coptic). However, the Arabic may have itself been a translation, perhaps from Greek, Coptic or Latin. Unfortunately, the information I have is very sketchy, and I cannot provide any solid details regarding its earliest origins. Arguably the most important information---the place and date of authorship---remains entirely unknown to me.