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E02307: Greek oracle question from Oxyrhynchos (Middle Egypt) addressing *Philoxenos (saint with cult in Oxyrhynchos, S00443), datable to the 6th century.

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posted on 02.02.2017, 00:00 by gschenke
P.Oxy. 16 1926

This oracle question approaches the saint with a business/ethical problem to solve.

+ Δέσποτά μου θεὲ παντοκράτωρ, καὶ ἅγι(ε)
Φιλόξενε πρόστατά μου, παρακαλῶ ὑμᾶς
διὰ τὸ μέγα ὄνομ(α) τοῦ δεσπότου θεοῦ, ἐὰν οὐκ ἔστιν
θέλημα ὑμῶν μὴ λαλῆσαί με μηδὲ περὶ τραπέζ(ης ?) μηδὲ
περὶ ζυγοστασίας, παρακελεῦσαί με μαθεῖν, ἵνα μὴ λαλήσω. +

'O my Lord God Almighty and St. Philoxenus my patron, I beseech you by the great name of the Lord God, if it is not your will that I speak either about the bank or about the weighing-office, to bid me learn this, in order that I may not speak.'

(Text and trans.: B. P. Grenfell, A. S. Hunt, and H. I. Bell)


'My Lord God Almighty and St. Philoxenos my patron, I beseech you through the great name of the Lord God, if it is not your will for me to speak about the bank or about the weighing office, direct me to find out that I may not speak.'

(Trans.: M. Meyer)


Its counterpart reads as follows:

P.Harris 54:

+ Δέσποτά μου θεὲ παντοκράτωρ, καὶ ἅγιε
Φιλόξενε πρόστατά μου, παρακαλῶ ὑμᾶς
διὰ τὸ μέγα ὄνομ(α) τοῦ δεσπότου θεοῦ, ἐὰν θέλημα
ὑμῶν ἐστιν καὶ συνέρχεσθέ μοι λαβεῖν τὴν τραπεζῖτιν,
παρακαλῶ κελεῦσαί μοι μαθεῖν καὶ λαλῆσαι +

'O my Lord God Almighty and St. Philoxenus my patron, I beseech you by the great name of the Lord God, if it is your will and you are helping me to take the banking-business, I beseech you to bid me learn this, and speak.'

(Text and trans.: J. E. Powell/H. C. Youtie)

History

Evidence ID

E02307

Saint Name

Philoxenos : S00443

Saint Name in Source

Φιλόξενος

Type of Evidence

Late antique original manuscripts - Papyrus sheet Liturgical texts - Divinatory texts and oracle questions

Language

Greek

Evidence not before

500

Evidence not after

599

Activity not before

500

Activity not after

599

Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc

Oxyrhynchos

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Oxyrhynchos Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Divination

Source

The papyrus document was found in Oxyrhynchus and has been dated on palaeographical grounds.

Discussion

Both texts addressed to the saint, would have been placed in his shrine in the hope that one may return as the answer to the petitioner.

Bibliography

Edition: Grenfell, B.P., Hunt, A.S., and Bell, H.I., The Oxyrhynchus Papyri XVI, published by the Egypt Exploration Society in Graeco-Roman Memoirs (London, 1924), 206. Translation: Meyer, M., Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power (San Francisco, 1994), 53. Further reading: Youtie, H.C., "Questions to a Christian Oracle," Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 18 (1975) 253–257.

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