The Tebessa Manichaean Manuscript

The Tébessa Codex was discovered in Algeria in 1918 and is now located in Paris, Bib. Nat., Nouv. acq. lat. 1114. See G. Quispel, "A Diatessaronic reading in a Latin Manichaean codex" VigChr 47 (1993), pp.374-378.  It contains fragmentary Manichaean text(s) in Latin.

From Alfaric:

The manuscript find was first reported at a colloquium on 19th July 1918, where H. Omont communicated to the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres that 13 very damaged folios of a Latin manuscript had been discovered some months earlier in a cave in Algeria to the south-west of Tebessa.  The manuscript had been deposited in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris as Ms. Nouvelles acquisitions latines 1114.

The ms was a codex, written originally in two columns, each of 30 lines.  However the outside portion is so badly damaged that the outer column is almost entirely lost apart from a few letters, so that on each leaf col.2 on the recto and col. 1 on the verso are absent.  The remaining leaves form an 'R' shape, meaning that the bottom is also largely gone, and no leaf has more than 18 lines on it.  No other codicological information is given.

Coyle gives the following data: Text in PLS 2, 1378-88. See:

(More details would be appreciated)


J. BeDuhn and G. Harrison, “The Tebessa Codex: a Manichaean treatise on Biblical Exegesis and Church Order”, in Emerging from darkness, Leiden (1997) (Not checked).

J. Kevin Coyle, Characteristics of Manichaeism in Africa.  Draft paper online at Vanderbilt.

P. Alfaric, "Un manuscrit manichéen," Revue d'Histoire et de Littérature Religieuses n.s. 6 (1920): 62-98. Checked.  Contains a transcription of both sides of the 13 leaves with Omont's speculative restorations and identifies it as a Manichaean text for the first time, but refers for details of the find back to H. Omont in Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 1918, p.241-250, reporting a session of the 19th July 1918.

Constructive feedback is welcomed to Roger Pearse. Corrections and additions are very welcome.
Updated 29th April 2006 from Alfaric.

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