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Artefact ID456
TM IDTM 33321
Findspot (DEChriM ID)12   (Ismant al-Ḫarāb)
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentDocumentary
LanguageGreek, Syriac

P.Kellis I 67: Letter to Theognostos

Someone whose name is lost writes to his "beloved son" Theognostos, sending "greetings in God" and inviting him to take heed about his sobriety. The main text of the letter is lost before the final salutations. A second hand wrote a postscript asking Theognostos to send a "nicely executed ten-page notebook" for his brother Ision, "for he has become a user of Greek and a Syriac reader".

On the back of the letter, the address, in Syriac, has the name read 'Lysimachos' (replacing the previous readings 'Pekysis' and 'Loui Shai'). I. Gardner recognizes here the Apa Lysimachos who appears as "a central but enigmatic figure in the 'Makarios family letters' from House Three at Kellis" (published as P.Kellis V, see e.g. P.Kellis V 19), perhaps "a member of the Manichaean elect with a position of authority for the Kellis group of believers" who was in the Nile Valley, maybe Antinoopolis (Gardner 2007: 224). As for Ision, he suggests that he would have become a reader of Syriac texts in Manichaean church and that his activities as "reader" might imply translating Mani's scriptures, originally written in Syriac. The Syriac-Coptic glossaries (T.KellisSyr.Copt. 1 and T.KellisSyr.Copt. 2) found at Ismant el-Kharab evidence a continuing awareness of the Syriac origins of the community's literature (Gardner 2007: 227).

Selection criteriaMention of Christian individuals/communities, Christian terms/formulas/concepts, Christian onomastics
Date from350
Date to375
Dating criteria

Dossier connection (Makarios family letters)

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

House 3, room 10, level 3

Accession number

Kellis, excavations Dakleh Oasis Project 1986-, inv. P. 17.D+N+EE (previously referred to as P.Kellis 63).


New editions

• Gardner, Iain. 2007. "P. Kellis I 67 Revisited." ZPE 159, 223-228.

• Worp, Klaas, with contributions by J.E.G. Whitehorne and R.W. Daniel. 1995. Greek Papyri from Kellis I. (P.Kell.G.). Nos. 1-90. Dakhleh Oasis Project: Monograph 3. Oxford: Oxbow Books, no. 67: 178-179 and pl. 67.

Editio princeps

• Whitehorne John. 1994. "A Postscript about a Wooden Tablet Book (P. Kellis 63)." In Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Papyrologists, Copenhagen, 277-283.

Valérie Schram, 2021
Suggested citation
Valérie Schram, 2021, "Artefact ID 456", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,