Tattam’s Apostolical Constitutions online

I noticed today that that Henry Tattam, The apostolical constitutions or canons of the apostles in Coptic is available online. Best find it through google books rather than archive.org for reasons which will be explained presently.

Its sole interest nowadays is in the history of the scholarship on the church orders, but that interest is considerable, as it was the first published version of the work now known as Traditio apostolica, in Bohairic. It is joined to the Apostolic church order also in Bohairic, forming the first two books of the Clementine octateuch. Of interest also is Tattam’s introduction, in which he cites extensively from Vanslieb, Histoire de l’église d’Alexandrie (1677) which gives a description of the contents of Traditio apostolica together with Apostolic church order, describing them as canons of the Coptic church.

Tattam himself makes no pronouncement as to the relationship of this work to the Apostolic constitutions, giving this title to his work on the basis that it was that of his Coptic exemplar, nikanōn n’te nenioti ethouab n’apostolos. Obviously there was no recognition that here were two distinct church orders.

Of further interest in the history of scholarship, however, is that the online copy is that of C.A. Heurtley, which somehow ended up in California. This contains Heurtley’s marginal annotations, in which, among other things, he observes the similarity between the opening chapters and that which we would recognize as the epitome of the Apostolic church order. These, however, have been cut off in the archive.org version, whereas they are entirely legible courtesy of google books.


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