Layton’s Coptic Grammar – a comment

I just looked at this blog and discovered that I hadn’t posted since July. I was surprised. I then looked in my drafts folder and discovered this.

A couple of days ago, one of the other postgrads asked me a question about translation of a sentence in Lambdin that he couldn’t work out. I couldn’t immediately work it out either, so I decided to use my copy of Layton’s Coptic Grammar. I was not at all happy to discover that the numbers in the index did not correspond with the page numbers in the book.  It was a very expensive book and my immediate assumption was that the revised edition had not revised the indices.

I eventually worked out what was going on in the sentence, sent off an email to my colleague and went home, determined to contact the publishers and ask if they had a corrected version of the indices. The next day I was showing a chaplaincy colleague the deficiencies of the book when I noticed that there are numbers in the margins at the beginning of each new section. He commented that his Latin grammar used section numbers rather than page numbers and a quick check revealed that the numbers in the index are indeed section numbers, not page numbers!! Oh, oops.

Clearly Layton was trained in the Classics. I wasn’t and I find his layout counter-intuitive.  I suspect I will not be alone. It’s rather like people in the church assuming a knowledge of the Bible that the majority of younger people outside the church simply do not have. It makes their communication fairly incomprehensible to the people they would dearly love to have in the church.

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