For the text of the Odes we are dependent on two Syriac MSS (both defective), supplemented by a Greek text of one of the Odes and also by a Coptic version of five of them preserved in the well-known Gnostic work Pistis Sophia.
The two Syriac MSS are: (1) Rylands Cod. Syr. 9 (16th cent.: = H) in the John Rylands Library at Manchester, which contains all the Odes except i, ii, and the beginning of iii; and (2) B.L. Addit. 14538 (9th or 10th cent.: = B), which has a much greater deficiency at the beginning, but is complete from the middle of xvii. 7 to the end. The text of the single ode which has survived in Greek (Ode xi) is one of a number of items in a 3rd century papyrus codex in the Bodmer collection at Geneva (Pap. Bod. XI).1 The five odes preserved in Coptic in the Pistis Sophia are i, v, vi, xxii, and xxv. Ode ii is thus unattested by any authority, as is also the beginning of Ode iii.
Ode i is extant only in Coptic and our translation of it has been made by Dr. K. H. Kuhn from Schmidt's text of the Pistis Sophia. Otherwise the translation is from the Syriac. It follows mainly the text of H, although from xvii. 7 onwards B has been preferred occasionally: all differences between H and B, however, have been recorded in the footnotes, as well as the Coptic and Greek variants where they occur.
If we take the Odes as they stand, there can be no doubt at all that they are Christian. Christ is mentioned by name: there are references to events in the Gospels (e.g., to the Baptism in xxiv);____________________