Another new Coptic resource

Recently Paterson Brown from Metalogos posted information on the Gospel of Thomas e-list about a new electronic Coptic resource.

It is called Marcion (no, I don’t know why) and includes a searchable version of Crum’s Coptic Dictionary, a searchable Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek Lexicon, and Henry Tattam’s A Compendious Grammar of the Egyptian Language (1863 edition) as well as Plumley’s An Introductory Coptic Grammar – Sahidic Dialect, and has been produced by Milan Konvicka. You can download it from, unzip it, then run marcion.exe.

According to the information posted at Marcion on Wikibooks (the help file) the full content is:

New Testament coptic coptic (sahidic dialect)
Nag Hammadi Library coptic coptic (sahidic dialect)
codex Tchacos coptic coptic (sahidic dialect)
codex Achmim coptic coptic (sahidic dialect)
Life of st. Anthony coptic coptic (sahidic dialect)
Pistis Sophia (djvu) coptic coptic (sahidic dialect)
Gospel of Thomas (djvu, photo) coptic coptic (sahidic dialect)
New Testament coptic coptic (bohairic dialect)
Septuagint greek greek
New Testament greek greek
Westminster Leningrad Codex hebrew hebrew
King James Version latin english
Bible of Kralice latin czech
Ceský ekumenicky preklad latin czech

Dictionary Search Instructions

It is rather geeky and not exactly intuitive to use if you’re not a programmer. Fortunately for me, my son is a programmer and he saved me significant amounts of painful reading time so I thought I would share – especially seeing this means I will also have a written reference on how to use it.

First, install the program and make sure that you have the necessary fonts (New Athena Unicode for Greek and Coptic and Ezra SIL for Hebrew). You may also need to have a Unicode Greek/Coptic keyboard installed, because it seems that when I type in Coptic, that’s the mapping it uses. I already had these, so I am not sure what happens if you try to use it without them.

To find the English equivalent of a Coptic word

  1. If you want to search Crum, you click on “Action”, then “Crum query (Coptic)”.
  2. In the window that opens up in the right hand side, you can choose whether you search exact, like or regexp.
    • exact means that you type in the exact word you’re looking for.
    • like allows you to type in wild cards, using % in place of a character that you’re not sure about. Thus if you type M%T, it will search for words that have any of the 30 letters in the Coptic alphabet in place of the %
    • regexp means regular expression and allows you to specify what options you want to put in instead of a character you’re not sure about. Thus, if you only want to check for MWT, MOT and MOYT, you could use this option, in which case you would type M[w|o|oy]T (where | is the symbol on top of the \ on a US keyboard – it appears on the keyboard as two small strokes, one above the other.) For a full explantion of how regular expressions work and what options you have, go to the Regular Expressions website.
  3. You type into the top box and what you are typing appears there in Roman font there and then in the box underneath in Coptic.
  4. You can chose whether you want it to show Greek equivalents, derivations and as an extra bonus, Czech (I assume because that is the first language of the guy who wrote the program). In the next tab, you can select which Coptic dialects you want it to search.
  5. Once this is all done, click on “query” and up pops your list.

To find the Coptic equivalent of an English (or Czech) word

Click on the tab that says English/Czech, select which language you want (English is the default) and then type your word. Select your options as above then click “query”. Depending on what you select you will get the Greek equivalent as well as the Coptic.

Using the Greek option

If you click on the Greek tab, you have two boxes like the ones that appear in the Coptic option. You type your word which appears in Roman font in the top box and in Greek below. Clicking “query” will provide you with both the English and Coptic equivalents (and also Czech if you select that in the tick boxes on the left).

The “Crum” option

If you click on this tab, you will be given the option of typing in the number of a page in Crum’s Coptic Dictionary and of selecting whether you want column A, column B or both. Clicking “query” displays all the words in the selected column(s) on the selected page. I am not totally sure how one might use this, but . . .


The program opens in a smallish window and once you’ve launched your query, you will probably find that there is an almost obscured scroll bar that allows you to move down all the results. If you click on the icon to enlarge the box to full screen, it’s easier to see the requisite scroll bar.

And Finally

You can search Liddell-Scott-Jones in a similar manner. I currently have no use for this, so haven’t tried it, but it offers the option of “parse inflection” which could be nice. A searchable version of Crum, however, is a really wonderful resource, especially since it doesn’t use the ornate Coptic font family that I dislike. 🙂 Milan Konvicka, whoever you are, I am exceedingly grateful to you. 🙂

3 thoughts on “Another new Coptic resource

  1. Hi Judy,

    i am happy for that you have interest about my work. You are absolutely right, documentation needs many improvements. One problem is that iam developing marcion faster than documentation, and second prooblem is my bad english. (This can be truly reason why people understand hardly to this guide 🙂 ). Iam now experimenting with instructional videos also.
    (these videos looks pretty good, next time i wianna make movie with tom cruise – if scientology church permits :)) )

    If you wanna spend some time, you can create account on wikipedia and edit that page yourself. I was reading your improvements on your blog, it is really much better than actual content. And i must say, entire your blog is great, thanks & congratulations.

    You can look also on Mani, subproject of Marcion, for users who are interested only for coptic dictionary.

    Both projects are updatable, iam still developing coptic database and application itself, download and use file crumX-Y.tar.bz2 how shows one from videos.

    Let God of light protects you against powers of darkness.
    Thanks, Good luck.

  2. Thanks Milan. I am fascinated that WordPress thought there might be some problem with this comment and held it up for approval, whereas it sometimes accepts comments that are clearly spam and need deleting. I don’t think you need to apologise for your English – the fact that you’ve produced this resource in English is wonderful.

    I’ll have a look at the files over the weekend.

  3. Pingback: Marcion (on-line Crum) update « Judy’s research blog

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