Coptic Sushi, SBL, San Antonio 2016

sushi-zushi-colonnadeI will not be attending the SBL conference this year (I plan to have my first SBL in Boston next year), but here is an important announcement from Christian Askeland:

By popular demand, the biggest Coptological party of the year will once again occur at an establishment of fine sushi. RSVP in the comments here or by emailing Christian Askeland.

Monday, 21 November 19:15

Sushi Zushi (click for the exact location)

Many attendees will probably be coming from the following session:

Nag Hammadi and Gnosticism


4:00 PM to 6:30 PM

Room: Crockett B (4th Level) – Grand Hyatt (GH)

Theme: Gnostic Writings, Sayings, and Histories

René Falkenberg, Aarhus Universitet, Presiding

Sarit Kattan Gribetz, Fordham University

Women as Readers of the Nag Hammadi Codices (20 min)

Eric Crégheur, Université d’Ottawa

On Plants, Spices and Gems: How Feasible are the Baptismal Rituals in the “Books of Jeu”? (20 min)

J. Gregory Given, Harvard University

Four Texts from Nag Hammadi amid the Fluidity of the “Letter” in Late Antique Egypt (20 min)

Discussion (15 min)

Geoffrey S. Smith, University of Texas at Austin

Medicine and Polemic in Tertullian’s Version of the Valentinian Sophia Myth (20 min)

Emanuel Fiano, Fordham University

The Theory of Names of the Gospel of Truth (20 min)

Einar Thomassen, Universitetet i Bergen

Did Gnostics Have a Concept of History? (20 min)

Discussion (15 min)

Posted in Announcements | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Complete Facsimile Edition of the Coptic Codices from Hamuli Online

We all owe a debt of gratitude to Ronald Hurlocker and to his supervisor, Christian Askeland, for making available on the massive facsimile edition of the Morgan Library & Museum’s Coptic codices which belonged to the Monastery of the Archangel Michael at Hamuli, in the Fayyum (Henri Hyvernat (ed.), Codices coptici photographice expressi: Bibliothecae Pierpont Morgan. Rome, 1922).

You can access the collection HERE.


Posted in Announcements, Manuscript Collections | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Job Opening for the Project Katalogisierung der Orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland/Cataloguing of Oriental Manuscripts in Germany

This is a two-year fixed term position starting at the earliest possible date on or after October 15, 2016. An extension of the contract beyond the initial two-year term may be available. The project (planned completion date: December 31, 2022) is based in Berlin. The position is part-time (50%) on the public service scale TV-L E 13. There is the possibility (not yet finalised) for a full-time appointment from July 1, 2017, depending on funding being made available.

The appointee will be responsible for the following tasks:

•       Catalogisation of Coptic manuscripts, ostraca and papyri from German collections, chiefly from the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection Berlin, in an online database

Requirements are specifically:

·       Ph.D. or M.A. (or equivalent) in the areas of Coptic Studies, Theology/Religious Studies, Egyptology, Christian Oriental Studies, Byzantine Studies or related fields. Opportunities for further training are available.

·       A solid knowledge of Coptic language and the textual tradition of Christian Egypt. Some expertise and experience in the area of Philology/Editions and Manuscript Studies/Codicology is welcome.

Candidates are expected to have:

·      Willingness and ability to quickly familiarise themselves with the tasks at hand

·       Familiarity with modern databases and online research

·       Language skills in Ancient Greek and German. Other language skills, in particular in French or ancient languages other than Coptic are helpful.

·      Excellent time management and good teamwork skills.

The Göttingen Academy of Sciences is an equal opportunity employer. In case of identical qualifications applicants with disabilities will be considered on a preferential basis.

Closing date: September 30, 2016

Please send your application (cover letter, CV, copies of relevant diplomas, publication list, if applicable) – in electronic form – to:

Professor Heike Behlmer (hbehlme at uni-goettingen dot de)

Please direct any enquiries about the project to the same address. General project information can also be found here.

Posted in Announcements | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Guest Post: Anthony Alcock – Johann Michael Wansleben on the Coptic Church

“The text that follows translates the chapter ‘Relatione dello stato eccelesiastico dei Copti’ on pp. 130-221 of the book entitled Relazione dell Stato presente dell’Egitto, written after Wansleben’s first stay in Egypt and published in 1671.”

Download the document PDF.

[#Beginning of Shooting Data Section] Nikon D300 2016/01/13 16:38:33.39 Time Zone and Date: UTC, DST:ON Jpeg Fine (8-bit) Image Size: L (4288 x 2848) Lens: 24-85mm f/2.8-4D Artist:                                      Copyright:                                                        Focal Length: 85mm Exposure Mode: Manual Metering: Matrix Shutter Speed: 1/100s Aperture: f/25 Exposure Comp.: +1.3EV Exposure Tuning: ISO Sensitivity: 0.3EV under 200 Optimize Image: White Balance: Preset manual d-0, B1, 0 Focus Mode: Manual AF-Area Mode: Single AF Fine Tune: OFF VR: Long Exposure NR: OFF High ISO NR: OFF Color Mode: Color Space: Adobe RGB Tone Comp.: Hue Adjustment: Saturation: Sharpening: Active D-Lighting: High Vignette Control: Auto Distortion Control: Picture Control: [SD] STANDARD Base: [SD] STANDARD Quick Adjust: 0 Sharpening: 3 Contrast: Active D-Lighting Brightness: Active D-Lighting Saturation: 0 Hue: 0 Filter Effects: Toning: Map Datum: Image Authentication: OFF Dust Removal: 2010/01/27 12:36:26 [#End of Shooting Data Section]

Posted in Coptic Church, Guest Post, Memorabilia | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Papers Presented by the Göttingen Crew at the Recently Concluded Congress of Coptic Studies

Six members of the Göttingen University and Göttingen Academy participated in the recently concluded 11th International Congress of Coptic Studies (Claremont, CA, July 25-30): Heike Behlmer, Frank Feder, So Miyagawa, Troy Griffitts, and myself.

Thus, Frank Feder organized together with Siegfried Richter (University of Münster) the panel “Prospects and Studies for the Reconstruction and Edition of the Coptic Bible,” and spoke about “Reconstructing and Editing the Coptic Bible: The Münster-Göttingen Collaboration for a Complete Reconstruction and Edition of the Coptic Sahidic Bible.” In the same panel, Heike Behlmer presented a paper entitled “Paul de Lagarde, Agapios Bsciai and the Edition of the Coptic Bible.” Frank also organized with Christian Askeland (Indiana Wesleyan University) the “Coptic Digital Tools for Beginners Workshop.”

Troy Griffitts and So Miyagawa participated in the panel “Coptic Digital Humanities,” chaired by Carrie Schroeder (the University of the Pacific). So read a paper which he prepared together with Marco Büchler, from the Göttingen Center for Digital Humanities, who unfortunately could not attend the congress. Their talk was titled “Computational Analysis of Text Reuse in Shenoute and Besa.” Another member of our team, Uwe-Karsten Plisch, gave a talk on the Mesokemic codex Glazier and its relevance for the Coptic translation of the Septuagint.

IMG_5106Finally, I delivered the paper “Recovering a Hitherto Lost Patristic Text: Greek and Coptic Vestiges of Melito of Sardis’ De Baptismo” in the panel “Early Christian Literature Preserved in Coptic,” organized and chaired by Timothy Sailors (Tübingen University).

IMG_5109The abstracts of all the papers presented at the congress, including those mentioned above, can be read HERE.

Posted in Announcements | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The incipit of Ps.-Theophilus of Alexandria’s Sermon on the Cross and the Good Thief on a Sahidic Paper Fragment from Ṭihnā al-Ǧabal

I returned from the 11th International Congress of Coptic Studies, which took place July 25-30 in Claremont, California, with many books and off-prints from colleagues and friends.

Among these, there is also a recent catalogue of the Coptic manuscripts in the collection of the Jesuits in Cairo, which I received from Mr. Nabil Farouk Fayez.[1] I have also contributed to this catalogue with the edition and translation of a late Sahidic monastic letter (no. 46), which I prepared together with Fr. Philippe Luisier from Rome.

The catalogue comprises mostly Bohairic and Arabic manuscripts, but there are also a few Sahidic among them. One item caught my eye in particular: under no. 41 (inventory number 520/4. Ms Copt. B 18), Fayez and Masson have described an incomplete Sahidic paper leaf from Ṭihnā al-Ǧabal, which they have tentatively dated to the 18th-19th centuries. I am not sure what arguments they had in mind, but this dating seems to me difficult to accept, as it is almost impossible to imagine that Copts still copied Sahidic manuscripts at such a late date. If I were to venture a guess, I would rather suggest a 13th or 14th century dating.

FullSizeRenderGiven that the annunciation is mentioned, the piece seems to be either a hymn to the Virgin Mary, or to the archangel Gabriel. As the text begins with a capital alpha, it may belong to an acrostic hymn. On the upper right margin of the recto, there is a brief scribal note which reads, “Apa Theophilus the Archbishop: The Sun of Justice.” One may recognize here the incipit of a sermon on the Cross and the Good Thief (CPG 2622; clavis coptica 0395), which has survived under the name of Theophilus of Alexandria. This patristic text is preserved exclusively in the Sahidic dialect of Coptic. I edited this version a few years ago according to the four manuscripts currently known in the journal Zeitschrift für antikes Christentum.[2] Here is the beginning of this work according to my translation: “The Sun of Justice has appeared from out of the Eastern places, lightening those who are in the darkness and the shadow of death.”

Although the length of the text is insignificant, I think this brief scribal note shows us that Ps.-Theophilus’s sermon on the Cross and the Thief circulated in Sahidic until very late.

[1] N.F. Fayez – J. Masson, S.J. “Catalogue des manuscrits coptes des Pères jésuites au Caire,” Bulletin de la Société de la Société d’archéologie copte 54 (2015) 59-150.

[2] A. Suciu, “Ps.-Theophili Alexandrini Sermo de Cruce et Latrone. Edition of Pierpont Morgan M595 with Parallels and Translation,” Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum – Journal of Ancient Christianity 16 (2012) 181-225.

Posted in Theophilus of Alexandria | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

An Unusual Sahidic Lectionary Manuscript

Under the siglum sa 297L, Schmitz and Mink’s list of the Sahidic New Testament manuscripts mentions a number of fragments from a lectionary which belonged the Monastery of Shenoute, i.e. the White Monastery. Schüssler’s Biblia Coptica designates the same manuscript as 818L. Although the script has variously been dated to the 9th or 10th century, I would rather opt, on paleographical grounds, for an 8th century dating.

Here are the known fragments of this codex:

London, British Library, Or. 3578B, f. 21

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Copte 129(21), f. 5-8

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Copte 132(3), f. 180

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Copte 133(1), 51, 51a-b

Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, K 9648

Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, K 9673b

And a few random photos of some of the fragments (sorry for their bad quality):

220 no sigla9201 no sigla9045Although scholars have sometimes quoted this lectionary, I think no one has remarked until now that it represents something of an oddity: as far as I am aware, it is the only Sahidic manuscript which has three columns of text on a page.

There are Greek manuscripts written in three columns (Vaticanus) or even four (Sinaiticus). I know that this is typical also for Syriac and some Ethiopic manuscripts. However, sa 297L stands out as the only example of a Coptic manuscript with more than two columns per page.

I am not sure why the scribe decided to organize the page in this way. Does it have something to do with the exemplar he used? In any case, this is certainly something strange enough to be worth noting.

Posted in Bible, Liturgical Books | Tagged , , | 1 Comment