Testament of Adam


The composite work referred to as The Testament of Adam consists of four sections: The Hours of the Night, The Hours of the Day (collectively known as The Horarium), The Prophecy and The Hierarchy. No single manuscript contains all of these sections.

Current State of the OCP Text

This OCP edition includes the complete text of one Syriac manuscript, edited by Peter Christensen (with Kasper Siegismund), and two Greek witnesses edited by Ian Scott and Ken Penner.

Syriac Text

The Syriac text presented here is that of BM Add. 14,624 (folios 8b-10a), also known as Manuscript A. This manuscript dates back to the early 9th century B.C.E., making it the oldest of all known manuscripts. However, the exact provenance of Manuscript A is unknown. Manuscript A is written on parchment in the Estrangela script, but some letters are written in the younger Serta script: Alaf is at times written as ܐ instead of ܐ, whereas letters dalath and resh are consistently written as ܕ and ܪ rather than ܕ and ܪ, respectively. Occasionally, the diacritical marker distinguishing between ܕ and ܪ is missing as well. In this OCP edition the orthography has been regularized and presented entirely in estrangela script.

Greek Text

The whole of two Greek witnesses are presented here: P. Cod. Gr. 2419 and the quotations in Cedrenus. P. Cod. Gr. 2419, also labeled manuscript A by James, was employed by Robinson as the base text for his fuller edition.

The five other Greek mss, along with the witnesses in other languages (Syriac, Arabic and Karshuni, Georgian, Armenian, Latin), still wait to be encoded. The most complete print publication of the Greek and Syriac evidence to date is that of S. E. Robinson, The Testament of Adam (see bibliography below).


Syriac Text

The Syriac manuscripts are divided into three recensions depending on content, chronology, writing system and arrangement of the four sections. (Note that the dating and alphabetic names for these manuscripts are all taken from S.E. Robinson's The Testament of Adam: An Examination of the Syriac and Greek Traditions. SBLDS 52; Chico, Ca.: Scholars Press, 1982.)

Recension 1

Recension 1 consists of the aforementioned Manuscript A (BM Add. 14,624 [folios 8b-10a]), dating to the early 9th century B.C.E., in addition to Manuscript B (Vat. Syr. 58), which is and dated to the late 16th century. Manuscript A is written in the Estrangela script with some letters in Serta, while Manuscript B is written entirely in Serta. Both manuscripts contain The Hours of the Night, The Hours of the Day and The Prophecy in that particular order. In spite of the chronological differences, they are nearly identical in terms of content.

Recension 2

Recension 2 consists of Manuscript C (Vat. Syr. 164), written in Nestorian and dated to the early 18th century, and Manuscript D (BM Add 25,875), also written in Nestorian and dated to the early 18th century. Manuscript C contains The Hours of the Night, The Prophecy and – as the sole witness amongst all other manuscripts – The Hierarchy. Manuscript D contains only The Prophecy.

Recension 3

Recension 3 consists of the following manuscripts: Manuscript E (Arund. Or. 53), written in Serta and dated to the 16th century, Manuscript F (Vat. Syr 159) written in Serta and dated to the 17th century, Manuscript G (Rylands 44) written in Nestorian and dated to the 15th century and Manuscript H (BM Add 14,577), written in Estrangela and dated to the late 9th century. All manuscripts in Recension 3 contain The Horarium except in reverse order – akin to the Greek versions – meaning that the Hours of the Day appear first, followed by The Hours of the Night. Manuscripts E and H merely contain The Horarium. Manuscript F is the only one in Recension 3 that contains The Prophecy. Manuscript G also contains the so-called Treatise of Shem.

Greek Text

The following is not a complete listing of manuscripts, but only lists the witnesses included so far in this OCP edition.

MS Label Full Name Source of Transcription
A (PCod.Gr.2419) Paris Codex Gr. 2419, folio 247b (15-16th C) M. R. James, "A Fragment of the Apocalypse of Adam in Greek," in Apocrypha Anecdota II (Texts & Studies 2.3; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1893), 138-145.
Cedrenus Quotations in Cedrenus G. J. Reinink, "Das Problem des Ursprung des Testamentes Adams," Orientalia Christiana Analecta 197 (1972): 387-99


Print Editions

Greek Text

For further bibliography (including print editions of the evidence for TAdam in other languages) see DiTommaso, Bibliography, 205-220.

The text transcribed in the OCP edition of the Testament of Adam is in the public domain. For further information about the re-use and re-publication of this or other OCP texts, click on the "copyright and permissions" link under the "help" menu (question mark) at top.