Egypt Exploration Fund   [Hrsg.]
Archaeological report: comprising the work of the Egypt Exploration Fund and the progress of egyptology during the year ... — 1907-1908

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Graeco-Roman Egypt.


possible that Prof. Deissmann exaggerates the total amount of the new
light derivable from the papyri for Biblical criticism, and also that he
minimises the differences which still remain between the New Testament
literature and the contemporary documents of Hellenistic Greek; but it
is natural to emphasise an aspect of the subject which he was the first to
bring to the notice of Biblical students. This book has the further merit
of quoting the original texts of papyri, ostraca, and inscriptions freely and
fully, and it is generously supplied with facsimiles; consequently it will
serve excellently as an introduction to the subject for students who wish,
not merely to know results, but to go to the original sources. It will also
reinforce the growing tendency in Germany (in England there was less
need for it, since the truth in question had been less lost sight of) for
scholars to treat the Bible, not as a corpus mortuum for dissection in a
laboratory, but as a living literature embodying truths of vital import to
its writers and to subsequent ages, and to realise that it cannot be rightly
and historically interpreted except upon this basis. The more the New
Testament literature is studied in connection with the circumstances out
of which it rose, the less we shall trouble ourselves about questions of
authenticity, and the more we shall be willing to accept it as being in fact
that which it purports to be. And Prof. Deissmann's work is a valuable
aid towards the realisation of these circumstances.

Another aspect of religion, and one more closely limited to Egypt, is
dealt with in the second and final volume of Dr. Otto's Priestcr und
Tcmpel21 (see No. 26 in the Report for 1904—5). It is not concerned with
the spiritual character of Grreco-Egyptian religion, but with the political,
social, and economic position of the priests under the Ptolemies and the
Roman governors. The four chapters comprising this volume treat
respectively of the expenditure of the temples, the organisation and
administration of the priesthood, the social status of the priests, and the
relations between church and state. On many points the evidence is very
scanty, and Dr. Otto is forced to be guided to his conclusions by indica-
tions which may prove to be misleading ; but his collection of materials is
admirably exhaustive, and his handling of them is clear and judicious.
His two volumes (which are fully provided with indices) will be a trust-
worthy book of reference for many years to come.

Mr. H. I. Bell's article on the Aphrodito Papyri22 breaks altogether
new ground. It is a jjreliminary account of a large collection of papyri
found at Kom Ishgau, and now in the British Museum, belonging to the
period of Arab rule in Egypt. It consists of official correspondence (in
Greek) between the Arab governor of Egypt in a.d. 708-711, Kurrah ben
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