More on Coptic resources

It occurs to me that there are two other useful on-line Coptic resources that I didn’t mention in my last posting. Both are now linked from my blogroll – Crum’s A Coptic Dictionary and Bill Arnal’s key to the exerices in Lambdin’s Introduction to Sahidic Coptic.

I find the electronic form of Crum useful because it means you can access it when you are away from your study/office but have internet access. It has a number of limitations, however, which make it a less than ideal source for the serious Coptic scholar. The first is that in the scanning, the bottom line or two of some pages were not scanned properly. The second is that it is very cumbersome to navigate around. The clickable index has all the pages except the ones on which a letter of the alphabet first appears numbered as they are in the paper version. Thus, you have a page labelled RHO followed by pages 288-312. You therefore have to guess on which page the word you want might appear, click on it and wait for it to load, then click again to magnify the image to a size that you can actually read. If you then discover that you guessed wrong, you have to close the page and start again. The pages are also scanned as .gif images, so although it’s an electronic version, you can’t do a keyword search. I would suggest that anyone who is doing any serious work in Coptic would still need to buy a paper copy, which you can do at a reasonable price (for such a big, specialist book) at Wipf and Stock. I haven’t seen this myself, but apparently the pages are just as they are in the hardcover version – it hasn’t been re-typeset. I got my hardcover copy secondhand from a delightful Dutch bookseller at a reasonable price through AbeBooks, but secondhand copies of the hardcover are not all that easy to find and last time I looked, the ones offered at Amazon were astronomically priced.

Bill Arnal, of University of Regina in Canada, has generously put up on the web a copy of his key to the exercises in Lambdin. This saved me some time and hair-tearing at the end of last semester when I got to some of the sentences in the later exercises whilst tutoring one of our undergrads. It certainly did, as Bill suggests in his introduction, reduce my workload as I tried for the first time to help someone else work through those later chapters. It would also be useful for anyone wishing to teach themselves Coptic as long as they could resist the temptation to look at the key before really wrestling with the sentences themselves.

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5 thoughts on “More on Coptic resources

  1. I don’t know, Pat. I would need to find out if it’s going to be keyword searchable or just scans of the print edition. If it’s keyword searchable (and I have any money left when I get back from Texas), it might be good to have.

    I have “Nag Hammadi in English”, a number of English translations of the Bible and several other resources in Libronix and I find them very useful. It looks, though, as though it will be quite a long time before they release it. I first noticed that they were looking at doing it quite some time ago and it hasn’t gathered much interest.

  2. I also noticed that it was taking a long time to gather interest. I guess it’s tough when it’s such a small field. Maybe April DeConick’s challenge for every NT PhD to know Coptic will drum up some interest 🙂

    I’m pretty certain they would have it searchable, everything else they offer is. I’m a big fan of Libronix. I’ve got several Greek grammars and lexicons beyond the regular packages. “Nag Hammadi in English” is on my personal Libronix wish list. So many books, so little money.

  3. I understand that the Wipf and Stock reprint (which I have not seen) contains 7 unnumbered pages listing discoveries of Coptic books in Egypt in the last few decades. This information was compiled by James M. Robinson, of Nag Hammadi fame, but doesn’t seem to be otherwise available. Does anyone have access to this? As one only marginally interested in Coptic, I’d hate to be forced to buy Crum for just 7 pages. No library in the UK seems to have the reprint.

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