Via my professor James Davila at


I just returned from the Papyrology Congress in Geneva, and you will be interested in the paper by Dirk Obbink (Oxford), “A New Fragment of Ezekiel’s Exagoge from Oxyrhynchus.” According to the abstract, this “newly identified papyrus … preserves the earliest textual witness to the Hellenistic tragedy Exagoge by Ezekiel. … The new papyrus attests the widespread circulation of this work and affords a unique opportunity to view its textual paradosis and graphic presentation in literary circles in Roman Oxyrhynchus.” The handout provided a critical edition of the text and comparison with other witnesses.

This text is a retelling of the Exodus story in the form of a Greek verse drama by the Hellenistic author Ezekiel the Tragedian. (We covered this in my Old Testament Pseudepigrapha course some years ago. And for much more, see here and here.) Apart from this manuscript, it survives only in quotations (and quotations of quotations) by later writers. Assuming, that is, that this is a manuscript of the Exagoge and not one of the later embedded quotes. Still, an actual manuscript of the work of Alexander Polyhistor would be pretty cool too.

The website for the 26th International Congress of Papyrology is here.

I am very interested in this text as I gave a paper on the Exagoge at last year’s SBL conference (I have also mentioned it on this blog, here and here and here). It is a very interesting text that deals with the enthronement of Moses on a heavenly throne. The most peculiar aspect of the text is that the divine figure who is on the throne actually gets off, seating Moses in his place. There is much debate regarding the identity of the figure who was previously enthroned.

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