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Academic Interests

My research focuses on the late antique Egyptian monasticism and the contextualisation of Coptic literary works of the late antique period, in particular the Nag Hammadi codices and related texts. My aim is to explore the manuscript producing culture of fourth and fifth century Egypt primarily through the use of documentary evidence. My major areas of enquiry relate to the following issues.

  • The place of manuscript production within the fourth and fifth century Egyptian monastic communities
  • The monastic movement in relation to questions on bilingualism, Hellenism and native Egyptian culture
  • The role played by Egyptian monasteries in the expansion of literacy within an essentially non-literate society
  • The use of documentary evidence for the contextualisation of fourth and fifth century Coptic literature


Higher education and employment history

I have been employed since May 2014 to work in close cooperation with the ERC-funded project “New Contexts for Old Texts: Unorthodox Texts and Monastic Manuscript Culture in Fourth-and Fifth-Century Egypt” (NEWCONT) led by Hugo Lundhaug.

I have an MA in Coptic Studies from Macquarie University in Australia (2013) with a focus on Coptic literature and early Christian monasticism in Egypt. My MA thesis explored the eschatological fate of the psychics as evidenced in the Tripartite Tractate, the longest of the texts that make up the Nag Hammadi Codices.

Previously I gained a BA (Hons.) in Oriental Studies from the University of Liverpool (1988) specialising in ancient Egyptian language and linguistics. This was followed by year spent as a researcher and assistant museum curator in the Garstang Museum in the department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology.

I have also worked as a teacher of Politics, Theology and Sociology and was Head of Social Sciences at a number of education establishments in London.


  • 2014 Stipendiat Teologisk Fakultet University of Oslo
  • 2013 Paul Dovico Prize for best MA Thesis, Macquarie University, Australia
  • 2012 Society for the Study of Early Christianity Prize, Macquarie University, Australia

Phd. Project

My research project, provisionally entitled "An Exploration of the 4th and 5th Century Egyptian Monastic Manuscript Culture through the Study of Documentary and Supporting Archaeological and Literary Evidence" has been designed to examine the problem of the larger context of the Nag Hammadi and other similar codices. In this research I wish to explore my hypothesis that the production of these works took place in a monastic setting. In order to test its veracity, I have posed and will attempt to answer questions concerning how an examination of primary sources and evidence help to pinpoint the motives and cognitive processes of the monks involved in the selection and production of manuscripts and how the documentary evidence compares and contrasts to the literary evidence which has formed the main basis for our understanding of monasticism in this period.



Tags: Monasticism, Ancient culture and religion, Patristics, Coptic


  • Tutty, Paula Jean (2021). Is the Canon of the Scriptures Closed? Recent Interest in the Nag Hammadi Library. In Ramelli, Ilaria (Eds.), T&T Clark Handbook of the Early Church. Bloomsbury T&T Clark. ISSN 9780567680396. p. 620–645.
  • Tutty, Paula Jean (2018). Books of the Dead or Books with the Dead? Interpreting Book Depositions in Late Antique Egypt. In Lundhaug, Hugo & Jenott, Lance (Ed.), The Nag Hammadi Codices and Late Antique Egypt. Mohr Siebeck. ISSN 978-3-16-153973-2. p. 287–328.

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  • Tutty, Paula Jean (2021). 'My Lord, Do it for God’s sake!' Female Correspondents in Late Antique Monastic Letters from Egypt.
  • Tutty, Paula Jean (2019). Contextualising the Monastic Community of the Nag Hammadi Cartonnage.
  • Tutty, Paula Jean (2017). Monks, Materiality, and Manuscripts: Putting Early Coptic Codices into their Social Context.
  • Tutty, Paula Jean (2017). From the Sacred to the Profane: Evidence for Multiple Social Identities in the Letters of the Nag Hammadi Codices.
  • Tutty, Paula Jean (2017). Into Egypt: The Transmission, Translation and Reception of the Nag Hammadi Codices.
  • Tutty, Paula Jean (2015). Monastic mobility and intercommunication in Late Antique Egypt.
  • Tutty, Paula Jean (2015). The political and philanthropic role of monastic figures and monasteries as revealed in fourth-century Coptic and Greek correspondence.
  • Tutty, Paula Jean (2019). The Monks of the Nag Hammadi Codices: Contextualising a Fourth Century Monastic Community. University of Oslo. ISSN 1502-010X. 74(1).

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Published May 15, 2014 2:32 PM - Last modified June 30, 2017 11:16 AM