Kristine Toft Rosland

Exploring the variants of the Apocryphon of John


My PhD project is part of the ERC-funded research project “New Contexts for Old Texts: Unorthodox Texts and Monastic Manuscript Culture in Fourth- and Fifth-Century Egypt (NEWCONT)”.

In my project I will compare the variants of The Apocryphon of John (Ap. John) found in the Nag Hammadi Codices and the Codex Berolinensis 8502 to see what kind of variant readings they offer, and to examine possible backgrounds for these variants. At the basis of this lies the understanding that the texts are examples of living literature, where material “is constantly subject to revision and rewriting to reflect changing historical and cultural circumstances”(Bradshaw 2002). Such material is corrected, expanded or rewritten to correspond to the contexts in which they are used. The different versions take on different meanings by their historical contexts, and by the different codex-contexts they appear in. By analyzing these differences and by comparing them with other Egyptian monastic material from the 4th and 5th century I hope to learn something about the concerns of those using the texts.

My primary research questions are: 

  • What variety is there between the different versions?
  • How do changes in the role of Christ in these texts change the Christology of the treatises in question, and how do the different roles of Christ change the interpretation of the texts as a whole?
  • Can these varieties be explained by the increasing uniformity of the monastic movements during the fourth and fifth century?


Professor Hugo Lundhaug


PhD Research Fellow financed by an ERC Starting Grant.



Published Aug. 25, 2015 4:00 PM - Last modified Apr. 27, 2019 8:08 AM