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Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary's Dormition and Assumption$

Stephen J. Shoemaker

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199250752

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199250758.001.0001

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(p.397) Appendix E The Sahidic Coptic Homily on the Dormition Attributed to Evodius of Rome

(p.397) Appendix E The Sahidic Coptic Homily on the Dormition Attributed to Evodius of Rome

Source:
Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary's Dormition and Assumption
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

1. A homily delivered by Apa Evodius, the Archbishop of the great city of Rome, the second after the apostle Peter.1 And he delivered it in the first of the churches recently built in the name of the holy Theotokos and true Bearer of God, Mary. And he proclaimed a few praises in honour of the holy Virgin Mary, which he told us on the day of her departure, the twenty‐first of the month of Tobe. In the peace of God, Amen.

2. It is proper and right that we give every honour and every blessing to the master2 of us all, the holy Theotokos Mary, our intercessor who continuously intercedes on our behalf before God, the Queen of the entire race of women and the mother of the King of Kings, our Lord Jesus Christ. For if a king of this world wants to make a marriage for his son, his people gather to him. They dress in white and put on royal garments: the governors, the generals, the dignitaries, the scholars, the local governors, the government officials in general, down to the humble earring‐wearers, who are servants to those who serve. The others similarly dress in white according to their honour and come to the marriage of the king's son. The standard‐bearers set up standards in the praetorium. The friends of the people honour the groom and his bride. The scribes are gathered, and they stand according to order. The couriers prepare themselves, and they summon those who are worthy of (p.398) coming to the wedding. The actors prepare theatres and perform plays. The mimers prepare places for miming and perform shows. The gladiators prepare fights with wild beasts, and they bring forth wild beasts, which they are bold to fight well. The cithara players play the cithara in melodies that are sweet and pleasing to those who listen. The lute players sing with instruments. Dining couches are set up in the marketplaces. The people of the marketplace, those who sell things, crown their seats with palms and fragrant branches. They hang banners and fine linen cloths in the streets of the city, rejoicing at the marriage of the king's son. Not only will the rich and the dignitaries rejoice so at this marriage, but also the poor and those who are in need, and the strangers and the sojourners. They too rejoice on account of the joy of the marriage of the king's son. Likewise, those in prison forget the troubles that beset them, and they rejoice greatly that the king had mercy on them in the troubles that had befallen them, on account of the joy of the marriage of the king's son. But when the king beholds this great joy that is spread forth on his behalf, he is in great royal authority. Then he prepares places for drinking, and he gives great sanctions and extends great charities to everyone in need.

3. And all these things are on account of a marriage of this world—for truly their joy turns to grief after a little while because of death. How great then is the joy that spreads forth today among all the orders of heaven: the angels and archangels, the cherubim and seraphim, the thrones and dominions, the powers and authorities! They rejoice, adorn themselves, and dance at the wedding of the King's son. Blessed are you, O Mary, the Queen of women and the mother of the King of life and the King of Kings, the one about whom Solomon prophesied in the Song of Songs, saying, ‘Arise and come beside me, my bride, my dove, who is beautiful among women.’3 And not only the inhabitants of heaven, but also those on earth are very glad, and they rejoice in your joy. Those who are in the heaven of heavens and those upon the earth rejoice with you, O Virgin Mary. And not only do the men rejoice, but also the women rejoice that a woman has given birth to this great one in his days, and it did not damage her virginity. Because of this, he has changed the shame of woman into an honour, through that God‐bearing Virgin.

4. Let our ancient fathers gather and come here today and glorify that holy Virgin, the true bride who gave birth to the true, undefiled bridegroom. And when he came forth from her, the bonds of her virginity were not undone. Come to us today, O Isaiah, whose voice is great among the prophets, and see the Virgin about whom you prophesied a long time ago, when you said through the prophetic spirit (p.399) that was in you: ‘Behold, the virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call his name Emmanuel, that is, God with us.’4 Come now and see Emmanuel, God raised upon her knees, feeding on virgin milk. O David, come and see the honoured Queen standing at the right hand of the King and clothed in the many‐coloured garment.5 O Solomon, the wise king, come and see the true bride about whom you prophesied in the Song of Songs, saying: ‘My bride, my dove, who is beautiful among women, arise and come from the trees of Lebanon.’6 O Ezekiel, arise and come into our midst today and behold the closed gate, through which the ruler entered and also came forth, and it was closed as it was before,7 namely, the holy Virgin Mary, from whom the King of Kings came forth, and the bonds of her virginity remained sealed as they were before.

5. O Mary, you are more blessed than every female creature that God has created.8 I wish that I could have seen you, O Mary, when you gave birth to God, without change or illusion, even though we saw him as he grew in years, in the way of every human being, and we were worthy to eat with him and see all the wonders that he worked. I saw them with my own eyes, I Evodius, the least, who is speaking now in this exposition: I and my fathers the apostles and the seventy‐two disciples.9 But, in all these things, I was wishing that I had been worthy to see him when he was raised up on your knees, gazing at your face and laughing at you with his divine laughter. I wanted to see you, O undefiled lamb, holding the hand of Emmanuel, your son, and talking with him, saying, ‘Walk, walk, my son’, in the way that all little children are taught to walk. He, Jesus my Lord, would not take step on step with his little feet while walking, following like all little children. I wanted to see you, O beautiful treasure, when he was looking at your face, as if saying to you, ‘Pick me up, O my mother, because I have become weary from walking.’ I wanted to see you, O beautiful dove, when he stretched forth his hand, taking hold of your undefiled breast and placing it in his divine mouth.

6. Truly you are blessed! You are many times blessed, O beautiful treasure that has been found, hidden in the field.10 To what shall I compare you, or what is equal to you in all the creation that God has created? If I compare you to heaven, truly, you are exalted above it, because he who created heaven and earth desired and dwelled in you for nine months. You are more exalted than the sun. You are more exalted than the moon. You are more exalted than the angels. You are more (p.400) honoured than the archangels. You are more exalted than the cherubim. You are more honoured than the seraphim. O swift cloud, on which God was mounted!11 O golden jar, in which the manna is hidden!12 O new vessel, whose salt seasons our souls,13 which are insipid from sin! O holy ark, within which are the tablets of the covenant!14 O chosen lampstand of gold,15 whose lamp shines for those who dwell in the darkness and shadow of death!16 O honoured bush whose intellectual fire did not burn the bonds of her virginity!17 Blessed are you, who is beautiful among women!18 O honoured turtledove, which signals to us that summer has drawn near,19 which is the season of our salvation!

7. Where are you now, O ignorant Jew, the murderer of his Lord? This one who does evil to those who do good to him, let him come here today and be ashamed of himself, hearing all these testimonies, which those of his own people have previously prophesied concerning this Virgin and her blessed birthing. For instance, one is ‘Behold the virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call his name “Emmanuel”, that is, God with us.’20 Another is ‘The queen stood at your right hand in a gilded garment, clothed with many colours.’21 Another is ‘Arise, you who are beautiful among women,22 because the king desired your beauty, because he is your lord,’23 and ‘he wanted your breasts more than wine’.24 And another is ‘I saw a sealed scroll in the hand of the angel, and no one could open it, except the victorious lion from the tribe of Judah.’25

8. Since you do not receive these testimonies, O defiled Jew—because you heard them often with your ears, and you touched with your hands the blind that the son of the holy Theotokos Mary made to see, the lame that he made to walk, and the dead that he raised, things to which your very own hands bore witness when you took the stone from the mouth of the tomb with them, so that he came forth, living again—are you not, O ignorant one, the one who loosened the grave‐clothes that were wrapped around his body and the towel that was bound to his head26—I am speaking of Lazarus—and you released him, and he went forth again, after he had been in the tomb for four days—[then]27 (p.401) will not your children testify against you on the day of judgement, O ignorant Jew, since they took palm‐branches and went forth to meet him, saying, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’?28 Indeed, your children have confessed his divinity, but you have denied it.

9. Was not I, Evodius, the least, there when you invited Jesus, the son of the Virgin, to the wedding? We ourselves, the disciples, and his mother were following him, and you saw the miracle that took place.29 When they were lacking wine, his mother, the holy Virgin, went and sat at the feet of her blessed son, and she said to him, ‘My son, my Lord, and my God, they have no wine.’ And he turned his face, which poured forth every joy upon her, and said to her, ‘Woman, what do you want from me? My hour has not yet come.’ She said to him, ‘My son, my beloved, this is the time for your holy name to be glorified. They have summoned you as a man, O my son: reveal to them the glory of your divinity. For everyone who comes to the marriage, each one brings gifts according to his or her wealth and also according to the honour of the marriage. And you, O my blessed son, favour them with the honour above every honour, that is, the honour of your divinity. Reveal to them the glory of your divinity, so that your holy name will be glorified and all those who are at the marriage will believe in you, along with your blessed apostles, that you are truly the Son of God. Listen to me: I am your virgin mother. Grant me this gift which is above every gift, that is, the honour of your divinity.’ And when he heard these things, namely the one in whom are the storehouses of mercy, he said, ‘Let them fill the water jars with water.’ And they filled them to the rim. He caused the waters to change their nature: they became superior wine.

10. Did you not see all these things that were done by him, this Son of God, to whom this holy Virgin gave birth? Why are you now ignorant, so as not to believe that it is in fact a holy birth in which the Virgin gave him birth? Why did your tongue not dry up in your mouth, O defiled Jew, when you said to Pilate with your tongue, which is worthy of being cut out, ‘It is through fornication that Mary gave birth to Christ’?30 Why do you not remember the voice of the archangel Gabriel, saying, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of (p.402) the Most High will overshadow you. Because of this the one to whom you will give birth is holy, and he will be called the son of the Most High.’31 O those who were given the law and have denied the lawgiver! O those who say, ‘We know the law well’, but deny the one who has given them the law and his commandments! Why have you not believed these shepherds who saw the birth‐star of the son of the Virgin,32 when she gave birth to the one who is consubstantial with the Father? Indeed, are these not eyes of some from your own people? Why have you not asked them? Truly, those who were there will proclaim to you the truth concerning the voices of the angels singing hymns for the birth of the Son of God, crying out and saying, ‘Glory to God in the heights; his peace on earth among people of his will.’33

11. O lawless one who is more defiled than every menstruous woman, why have you not imitated these Magi, pagans and greatest sinners of the whole earth, these who saw the star in the east?34 They set out from their country and came to Judaea, and they worshipped the King: ‘O Son of God, the Almighty and also the son of the holy Virgin, Saint Mary!’ They knew truly that the one to whom the Virgin Mary gave birth was divine, and they worshipped him and gave him frankincense as a king. They knew that he was a human being whose humanity had joined with his divinity, and they worshipped him with myrrh as a human. Why have you not, O ignorant Jew, remembered these things that were attested to you concerning the birth of God the Word and believed in him? But you have abandoned all these things and done evil, and you have turned from the way of truth. You cried out to Pilate, saying, ‘He is a man who has fashioned himself God’,35 and also, ‘He is the product of fornication.’36

12. What is the repayment that you shall receive on that day of requital for all the things that you have done? I say to you that the blame that will be put on you will not be worse for you than the punishments into which you will be cast with the severe sentence: ‘these enemies of mine, who did not want me to rule over them, bring them and slay them in my presence’,37 and also: ‘let the sinners return to Hell, all the nations that forget God’.38 O Jews, who are the most defiled of the whole earth, why have you denied your life and your inheritance and received a curse upon your head, not a blessing?39 But rightly he has spoken to you thus: ‘God is able to raise up sons to Abraham from these stones.’40 But you, (p.403) O defiled Jews, will be cast into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.41

13. But let us abandon matters of this sort and return to the greatness of this Virgin, the Bearer of God, and tell you about the day of her honourable departure, so that the faithful will hear and will praise God. And all the things that I will say, no one else who saw them has told me about them, but I saw them with my own eyes, and I touched them with my own hands:42 for the sight of eyes is more trustworthy than the hearing of ears.

14. And it happened when the apostles had completed everything that the Lord Jesus Christ had commanded them, and they gathered together secretly, so that each one would depart for the region that he was allotted and preach the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. And they also cast lots for us, the lesser disciples. The lot fell to me, Evodius, to continue journeying with my father and teacher, Peter, the chief of the apostles and the first ordained by the hands of God the Word and the Creator of all. When the lot of this region, that is, Rome, fell to him, we prepared ourselves, each one for his region.

15. But my father, Peter the apostle, said to the apostles, ‘Let us all gather in a single place tomorrow and assemble together and celebrate the mystery which our Lord taught to us.’ And we were gathered for the breaking of bread, all of us, the apostles and the other disciples, and Mary the mother of the Lord was gathered with us, and Salome and the other women who followed the Lord Jesus Christ, and we were in a single place out of fear of the Jews, but we were full of joy: behold, the Lord Jesus, the Life of us all stood in our midst and said to us, ‘Peace to you; let the peace which my Father has given to me be with you.’43 For that day was the twentieth of Tobe. And when the apostles and the other lesser disciples saw the teacher, Jesus, they rejoiced greatly, and such great happiness came upon us. We advanced to him, one by one: first the apostles, and then the lesser disciples. Then we ourselves bowed down before him and kissed his hands, his feet, and his breast. And the women who were with us did likewise. But Mary, his mother, came in a rush, and she advanced to him and kissed him, mouth on mouth.

16. And when Jesus saw his virgin mother, he smiled at her with a spiritual smile and said to her, ‘You are more blessed, O my mother, than every creature that my Father has created. You are exalted above (p.404) heaven, more esteemed than the earth, because God resided in your holy womb. Blessed are you, O beautiful dove, my bride without blemish. Arise and come beside me, because my time has drawn near, when I will eat my bread with you44 and drink the sweet‐smelling wine in my garden,45 my holy Paradise. O my mother, if you spent nine months carrying me in your holy womb, I too will carry you in the bowels of my mercy. And if you nursed me on knee and arm, I too will raise you upon a glorious throne to the right of me and my good Father. If you wrapped me in rags on the day that you gave birth to me, and you put me in a manger, and an ox and an ass made shade for me, I too will cover you with the wings of the seraphim. And if you kissed me with your mouth and nourished me with your virgin milk, I too will kiss you in the presence of my Father in heaven, and my Father will feed you with the bread of truth. O Mary, my mother, the time has come for you to come forth from the body in the way of all humanity, because there is no one upon the earth exempt from tasting death, including me, the one whom you formed, so that I redeemed my form.46 Do not be distressed, O Mary my mother, that you are coming forth from the body. For you will leave this world behind you and go to the place of eternal gladness and joy.’

17. And the Saviour turned to my father Peter and the rest of the apostles and said to them, ‘O my excellent fellow‐members,47 these whom I have chosen and not the whole world,48 when it is dawn, I will gather you together in my body and my blood, and I will give you my peace and that of my Father and that of the Holy Spirit. Prepare yourselves, because my Father will send a multitude of angels for Mary, my mother and the mother of you all. And she will be taken up into heaven, to the place of rest that is in that eternal place.’

18. And when the Saviour had said these things to us, the sun rose on the twenty‐first of the month of Tobe. And the Saviour gathered us together by his own hands, we and the women who were with us. Then he said to Peter, ‘Arise and go onto the altar, beside which I have now gathered you together, and bring me these linen garments that I have brought from the heavenly things, which my Father has sent to you to bury my beloved mother in, since it is not possible for a garment of this world to befit her body, because it was the dwelling place of his beloved Son, namely, me.’

19. And our father Peter went, and he brought the garments. The (p.405) Saviour went inside and spread them out with his own hands. And he said, ‘O my mother, arise and lie down in the midst of these garments, because the time has come for you to come forth from the body, and I will take you up to heaven, beside my Father.’ And then we all kissed her, and she went into the midst of the garments that the Saviour had spread out with his own hands, and she turned her face to the east. The Saviour went outside, and we all followed him, since it is not possible for Death to come to a place where Life is. And while he sat for a little while, the Saviour spoke with us of the mysteries of the height. And while we were still sitting, we heard the women inside, where the Virgin was lying, weeping and crying out greatly. And Salome and Joanna came to us and said to the Saviour, ‘Our Lord and our God, your mother and the mother of us all has died.’ Then the Saviour arose immediately and went in to the place where she was lying, and he stretched forth over her and wept. Afterward, he kissed her precious mouth and said, ‘You are many times blessed, O my mother. Blessed are your breasts, which nursed me, and blessed also is your womb, which bore me, and blessed is the womb of your mother, which also bore you. This is the day that the prophecy of my father David has been fulfilled: “Virgins will be brought to the king behind her, in a garment that is gilded.” ’49

20. And when the Saviour had said these things, he took hold of his mother, the holy Virgin, and with his own hands he prepared her for burial in the garments that he had spread out. He sat beside her for a long time. And my father Peter and all the apostles and also the women who were in our company all wept over the departure of the holy Virgin Mary, the Theotokos. And the Saviour said to the apostles, ‘Why are you grieving when I, the joy of all creation, am with you?’ The apostles said to the Saviour, ‘We are grieving because of the departure of the master of us all, the holy Theotokos Mary, because she gives us consolation in everything. Do you not now have the power that she not die, until we all die?’ The Saviour said to the apostles, ‘Is not everything possible for me? But it is not possible that a person remain upon the earth forever, that she not taste death. Even I tasted death, and I rose from the dead and freed all those who have died in Adam.’50

21. While the Saviour was still saying these things to us, we heard the sound of great multitudes, like the sound of waterfalls, and we were afraid. The Saviour said, ‘Do not be afraid. It is Mary my mother, whom my good Father has sent to you, so that you will see her yet once more, and she will comfort you in your grief.’ And while we were saying these things, behold, a great chariot of light came into our midst, with a multitude of angels surrounding it. A glorious and exalted throne was (p.406) raised up on the chariot. The master of us all was sitting on the throne, and she reached out over us, saying, ‘The peace of my son be with you all.’ And when we advanced to her, we all kissed her, and also the women who were with us. She said to us, ‘Blessed are you, because you have become worthy of following my son and the Son of the living God, the Saviour of the entire world.’

22. But our teacher, Jesus, said to us, ‘Raise my mother's body upon a bier and crown it well with palms and fragrant branches. And sing before it the hymn that I taught you when I rose from the dead until [you reach] the place where I will order you to stop.’ And when the Saviour had said these things, he got on the chariot with his virgin mother, and the angels of God sang hymns before him until they reached heaven gloriously and honourably, while we were watching them. And we raised the body of his virgin mother upon a bier, and we sang Psalms before her, there also being a crowd of Jews with us.51 When we reached the place that is called the Valley of Josaphat, outside Jerusalem, a multitude of angels came forth from heaven, and they seized the Virgin's body. The angels of light flew with her to the (p.407) heights, singing hymns before her, while we watched until they were hidden in the air. And we returned to the house, glorifying God.

23. And when we continued to be troubled in heart concerning her body, because it was hidden from us, Christ appeared to us again, with his virgin mother to his right. He said to us, ‘When you go forth into the world, preach the good news of the departure of my mother Mary. And regarding her body, my Father has ordered that it be placed beneath the fragrant tree of life,52 which is the resting place of his beloved Son, namely, me.’

24. And as for me, Evodius, the disciple of my father Peter, the great apostle, no one else told me these things, but I was there just as all these things were happening. And the day of the departure of the master of us all, the holy Theotokos Mary, is the twenty‐first of the month of Tobe. Our Lord has commanded us to celebrate a feast every month in the name of the Virgin Mary, and especially on the twenty‐first of the month of Tobe. Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Notes:

(1) A more technical version of this translation can be found, together with the critical edition from which it was made, in Stephen J. Shoemaker, ‘The Sahidic Coptic Homily on the Dormition of the Virgin Attributed to Evodius of Rome: An Edition of Morgan MSS 596 & 598 with Translation’, Analecta Bollandiana, 117 (1999), 241–83.

(2) Although the form here is feminine (Appendix E The Sahidic Coptic Homily on the Dormition Attributed to Evodius of Rome), ‘mistress’ and ‘lady’ both have connotations in English that make them problematic for translation here. Although ‘master’ is often used as a gendered term in English, it is here employed in a neuter sense. In other words, while ‘master’ most appropriately expresses in English the meaning of the Coptic word used here, it should not be taken as suggesting the use of masculine forms in reference to the Virgin in the ancient text. This principle has been applied throughout the translation.

(3) Cf. S. of S. 1: 8, 2: 10–14, 5: 9, 6: 1.

(4) Isa. 7: 14.

(5) Cf. Ps. 44: 10 (LXX).

(6) Cf. S. of S. 1: 8, 2: 10–14, 4: 8, 5: 9, 6: 1.

(7) Cf. Ezek 44: 2–3.

(8) Cf. Luke 1: 42.

(9) Cf. Luke 10: 1, 7.

(10) Cf. Matt. 13: 44.

(11) Cf. Isa. 19: 1.

(12) Cf. Heb. 9: 4.

(13) Cf. 2 Kgs. 2: 20–21.

(14) Cf. Exod. 25: 16, Deut. 10: 3–5, 1 Kgs. 8: 9, Heb. 9: 4.

(15) Cf. Exod. 25: 31–39, Rev. 1: 12–2.1.

(16) Cf. Isa. 9: 1 (LXX), Matt. 4: 16 and par.

(17) Cf. Exod. 3: 2.

(18) Cf. Luke 1: 42.

(19) Cf. S. of S. 2: 11–12.

(20) Isa. 7: 14.

(21) Ps. 44: 10 (LXX).

(22) Cf. S. of S. 1: 8, 2: 10–13, 5: 9, 6: 1.

(23) Ps. 44: 12 (LXX).

(24) Cf. S. of S. 1: 2, 1: 4, 7: 9 (LXX).

(25) Cf. Rev. 5: 1–5.

(26) Cf. John 11: 38–45.

(27) The syntax of this passage is a little complex and difficult to translate. I have understood the entire passage as a lengthy conditional sentence, having a somewhat convoluted protasis and an apodosis that begins only at this point.

(28) Matt. 21: 9 and par.

(29) Cf. John 2: 1–10.

(30) Cf. A. Pil A 2. 3–6 (Konstantin Tischendorf, ed., Evangelia Apocrypha, 2nd edn. (Leipzig: 1876; repr. Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1966), 224–8); also, b. R̂Sabb. 104b and b. Sanh. 67a.

(31) Luke 1: 35.

(32) Cf. Luke 2: 8–14.

(33) Luke 2: 14.

(34) Cf. Matt. 2: 1–12.

(35) Cf. John 10: 33, 19: 7.

(36) Cf. A. Pil A 2. 3–6 (Tischendorf, Evangelia Apocrypha, 224–8).

(37) Luke 19: 27.

(38) Ps. 9: 18 (LXX).

(39) Cf. Deut. 11: 26–8.

(40) Matt. 3: 9, Luke 3: 8.

(41) Matt. 8: 12, 22: 13, 25: 30.

(42) Cf. 1 John 1: 1.

(43) Grammatically this sentence is a series of circumstantial clauses describing the circumstances of Jesus' sudden appearance, and strictly speaking one should translate: ‘And as we were gathered . . . behold, the Lord Jesus, the Life of us all stood in our midst . . . ’

(44) Or perhaps, ‘will eat my bread of truth’; but see Cant. 5: 1 (LXX).

(45) Cf. S. of S. 4: 16–5: 1 (LXX).

(46) Or perhaps, ‘until I redeemed my form’.

(47) Cf. Rom. 12: 4–5, 1 Cor. 12: 27.

(48) Cf. John 15: 19.

(49) Cf. Ps. 44: 14–15 (LXX).

(50) Cf. 1 Cor. 15: 22.

(51) The meaning of this last phrase is not entirely clear, and it is likely that something is wrong with the text here. With only one other exception (the homily on the Dormition attributed to Modestus of Jerusalem), every other ancient narrative of the end of the Virgin's life includes at this point an episode in which the Jews attack the Virgin's bier in an attempt to destroy her body. Its absence here is very peculiar, and I am convinced that this phrase once marked the beginning of this scene in an earlier version of this homily. Somehow in the course of transmission, the remainder of this episode must have fallen out.

I strongly disagree with Gonzalo Aranda Pérez's assessment of this passage, in which he concludes: ‘Además EvSah 1 [St Mich.] transforma radicalmente el episodio de los judíos que atacan el féretro, presente en la gran mayoría de los relatos de la Dormición, convirtiendolo en un dato favorable a los judíos. No refleja por tanto un ambiante antijudío’: Gonzalo Aranda Pérez, Dormición de la Virgen: Relatos de la tradición copta, Apócrifos christianos, 2 (Madrid: Editorial Ciudad Nueva, 1995), 103. Given the fact that almost one‐third of this homily is devoted to violent anti‐Jewish polemic, conclusions that this text ‘does not reflect an anti‐Jewish atmosphere’ or that it can be read as somehow favourable to Judaism are not very persuasive. Indeed, for its sheer quantity of anti‐Jewish invective, the St. Michael homily stands apart as among the most particularly anti‐Jewish of the ancient Dormition traditions. In the light of this, I repeat my suggestion that the anti‐Jewish episode involving the Virgin's funeral procession has most probably somehow been lost during the transmission of this homily, and its absence is not indicative of any sort of favouritism on the part of this homily towards Jews. For more on the anti‐Judaism of the early Dormition traditions, see Stephen J. Shoemaker, ‘ “Let Us Go and Burn Her Body”: The Image of the Jews in the Early Dormition Traditions’, Church History, 68 (1999), 775–823.

(52) Cf. 4 Ezra 2: 12.