St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society

Society Progress 2001-2

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During the period of 2/1/2002-2/4/2002, St. Mark Foundation in cooperation with the Coptic Patriarchate in Cairo and our Society, organized an international symposium for the study of Wadi al-Natrun. The symposium, attended by participants from ten different nations, dealt with the study of the different aspects of the land and people of this most important monastic center in Egypt. This included, Geology, History, Monasticism, Archeology, Art, Literature, and Liturgical practices in there. H.H. Pope Shenouda III, who graciously hosted the Symposium at his Papal Residency in the area, presided over and was a presenter in the first session of the Symposium. He also attended and participated in the discussions at various times as well as hosting the attendees in the evening in an informal reception. The event, by the grace of God, was a success in and out of Egypt, leaving all with long-lasting memorable moments. The next symposium being organized, God's willing, is scheduled for early February 2004 in al-Fayoum. It will deal with Christianity in Fayoum Oasis.

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Beginning July 26, 2002, the Society held its fourth general conference of Coptic Studies. This two-day event was held on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), through the courtesy of the University authorities and the hard work of the Coptic Collegiate Club there. There were about 17 presentations delivered by scholars, students, clergy, and laymen from the US and Canada. About 80-90 people attended some or all the presentations. This was the sixth Society-sponsored scholarly event in the field of Coptic Studies in Los Angeles. It helped to further the Society's efforts to promote scholarly research among the Coptic Community in this field.

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The Society's monumental work in publishing the treasures that the Coptic Heritage possesses, is continuing, but at a slower pace. This was due in part to our earlier commitment to St. Mark Foundation to prepare the electronic edition of the Coptic Encyclopedia. Work on the first 42 volumes of the Biblical Section (the Old Testament), CB1-CB42, is 70% complete. Publication of the work was delayed to allow for the addition of a literal English translation of the Bohairic texts. The Bohairic text of New Testament portion of this section CB43-CB60, published earlier in volume 1 of the Coptic CD, was also rechecked for vowel point placement, word divisions, and minor typos. A literal English translation of that text has also began. Volume 2 of the Coptic CD will include texts from CB1 through CB60 as well as the literal English translation of the Bohairic texts included. Projected date will be announced in the upcoming issues of the St. Shenouda Coptic Newsletter.

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a. COEPA: The Society continued its cooperation with COEPA to promote and distribute their excellent products in the US, which is related to our work. With the departure of Prof. Rageb Moftah, the distribution of the three audio titles; St. Basil Liturgy, Pascha Hymns, and Midnight Psalmody; will be limited to current inventory. There are more CD-ROM titles planned for the upcoming year that will be announced in the upcoming issues of the Newsletter. COEPA is still holds the distribution rights for our Coptic CD in Australia.

b. Digitizing of Coptic Microfilms: The Society has finished the digitizing of over 160,000 35mm frames and 26,000 16 mm frames of its microfilm/microfiche Coptic & Christian Arabic collection manuscript collection. This represents over 95% of its 35mm and 35% of the 16 mm collections. Work is being done now on cataloging this huge collection, which include over 250,000 pages and/or fragments. Upgrade of the computer facilities at the Coptic Center is under way to provide the users with the ability to view and use the collection. Several projects are planned for next year, which will involve such use.

c Image Digitizing: The Society also is working on digitizing the existing offprint collection, catalogs of Coptic and Christian Arabic manuscripts, and rare volumes dealing with Coptic Studies. Several thousand images have been scanned so far. This work will be made available to scholars and students involved in Coptic Studies and related fields. It will be furnished in PDF format on CD-ROMs, and will be announced when ready.

d. Computers at the Coptic Center: This year we added a new 30-GB External Hard drive to allow for the portability of the new collection of digitized images. We also added a 19-inch monitor. Work is under way to upgrade the current computer equipment at the Coptic Center. The new planned Intranet will give access to many of the newly digitized images of articles, books and manuscripts.

e. Global Access (Internet): This year we continued our solid presence on the Internet. HTTP://WWW.STSHENOUDA.COM is still our current website address . The traffic grew to an average of about 45,000 hits a month with visitors over the last year from nearly every state in the US as well as over 110 different countries from six continents.


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During the past year the library grew to about 2,000 volumes of material in the different branches of Coptic Studies. We expanded the library in nearly every section of its more than 14 different sections. We are continuing the expansion and the development of the library to contain all the necessary references required by those who want to learn and/or to research the Coptic Heritage. The notable additions were as follows:

a. Coptic Art/Architecture/Inscriptions: D.Benazeth, Catalogue General du Musee Copte du Caire 1. Objects en Metal (2001); E.Bolman et al, Monastic Visions (2002); H.Buschhausen et al Der Lebenkreis der Kopten (1995); P.Grossmann, Christliche Architektur in Ägypten (2001); P.Grossmann, Die Gruftkirche und die Gruft (1989); P.Grossmann, Mittelalterliche Langhauskuppelkirchen und Verwandte Typen in Oberägypten (1982); U.Horak, Illuminierte Papyri, Pergamente und Papiere v.1 (1992).

b. Coptic Bible, Old & New: P.Boetticher(=P.deLagarde), Epistulae Novi Testamenti Coptice (Reprint 1967); J.L.Ideler, Psalterium Coptice (Reprint 1974); P.deLagarde, Agyptiaca (Reprint 1972); P.deLagarde, Catenae in Evangelia Aegyptiacae quae Supersunt (Reprint 1971); N.F.Marcos, The Septuagint in Context-Introduction to the Greek Version of the Bible ; G.A.Perez, El Evangelio de San Mateo en Copto Sahidico (1984); A.Rahlfs, Die Berliner Handschrift des Sahidischen Psalters (Reprint 1970).

c. Coptic Festschrifts and Conference Proceedings: N.Bosson, Etudes Coptes VII: Neuvieme Journee d'Etudes (2000).

d. Canon Law and Legal Texts: A.Biedenkopf-Zeihner, Koptische Schenkungsurkunden aus der Thebais (2001); A.Biedenkopf-Zeihner, Untersuchungen zum Koptischen Briefformular unter Berucksichtigung Agyptischer und Griechischer Paralleten. (1983); M. Hasitzka, Ein Neues Archiv Koptischer Ostraka (1995); M. Hasitzka, Koptisches Sammelbuch (1993); M.Hasitzka, Neue Texte und Dokumentation zum Koptisch Unterricht 2 v.(1990); W.C.Till, Die Koptischen Rechtsurkunden aus Theben (1964).

e. Cataloges of Manuscripts/Bibliographies: A.Biedenkopf-Zeihner, Koptische Ostraka, v.1. Ostraka aus dem Britischen Museum in London, v.2 Ostraka aus dem Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (2000); O.Khs-Burmester, Catalogue of Coptic Manuscript Fragments from the Monastery of Abba Bishoy in Scetis, now in the Collection of the Staats- und Universitatsbibliothek Hamburg (1975); W.E.Crum, Coptic Monuments (Reprint 1975); T.Orlandi, Papiro Copti Contenuto Teologico (1974); P.deLagarde, Orientalia (Reprint 1973); L.Störk, Koptische Handscriften , 2 vol (1995-96).

f. Coptic Gnosticism & Apocrypha: A.Wroe, Pontius Pilate (1999).

g. Coptic Hagiography: J.Horn, Studien zu den Martyrern des Nordlichen Oberagyptischen. Bd.1: Martyrerverehrung und Martyrerlegende im Werk des Schenute. (1986), Bd. II: Martyrer und Heilige des XI bis XIV. Oberagyptischen Gaues; (1992); J.Horn, Untersuchungen zu Frömmigkeit und Literatur des Christlichen Agypten: Das Martyrium des Viktor, Sohnes des Romanos (1988); O.Meinardus, Coptic Saints & Pilgrimages (2002).

h. Coptic History and Geography: A.Al-Gabarti, 'Agaib al-Athar fi al-Taragim wa al-Akhbar pt1: The Ottoman Invasion of Egypt (1197), pt2. The Rise and Fall of Ali Bey (1997), pt.3 The end of Mamlukes (1997), pt.4 The French Invation (1997) [Arabic]; E.C.Amelineau, La Geographie a l'Epoque Copte (Reprint 1973); E.W.Lane, Description of Egypt (2000); D.M.Solihin, Copts and Muslims in Egypt: a Study on Harmony and Hositility (1991).

i. Coptic and Other Language: W.Kosack, Lehrbuch des Koptischen (1974); A.Shisha-Halevy, The Proper Name: Structural Prolegomena to its syntax; a case studyin Coptic (1989).

j. Coptic Literature/Patristics: A.Camplani, Le Lettre Festali di Atanasio di Alessandria: Studio storico-critico (1989); I.Gardner, Coptic Theological Papyri II , 2 v. (1988); G.Gabra.Abdelsayed, Untersuchungen zu den Texten uber Pesyntheus. Bischof von Koptos (569-632) (1984); C.D.G.Müller, Die Engellehre der Koptischen Kirche. Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der Christlichen Frommigkeit un Agypten (1959); C.D.G.Müller, Die Homilie über dir Hochzeit zu Kana und Weitere Schriften des Patriarchen Benjamin I Von Alex. (1968).

k. Coptic Monasticism: K.Knapp-Menzl, Mönchtum an Donau und Nil: Severin von Norikum und Schenute von Atripe (1997); D.W.Young, Coptic Manuscripts from the White Monastery: Works of Shenute , 2 v. (1993).

l. Coptic Paleography: M.Cramer, Koptische Palaographie (1964); H.Hyvernat, Album de Paleographie Copte (Reprint 1972).

m. Periodicals: Journal of Coptic Studies vol. 3 (2001); Coptic Church Review vol 22-4 (2001), vol.23-(1-3) (2002).

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The Coptic MiniConferences

The Society began a program of limited one-day miniConferences at the Coptic Center on a quarterly basis. So far two of them have been held this year in December 2001 and April 2002. Each included 2-3 short presentation on a variety of subjects, and one single major presentation on Coptic History. There was an accompanying Library Book exhibit for each meeting. The first featured original manuscripts and published ones, including facsimile edition. The second featured books with editions of Coptic biblical texts. Between 15-17 persons attended these meetings.

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The Advanced Coptic Seminar, continued its work primarily on selections from the Bohairic text of the Book of Genesis. One new Coptic I session for children 8-14 years old is currently being held at the Los Angeles Center. Two workshops are currently being held for a total of 5 of these children on how to read and use Coptic Manuscripts. A text from a Coptic Psalmodia manuscript is being used in the instruction. Also a group from UCLA, studying Sahidic Coptic has been meeting at the Los Angeles Coptic Center since March 2001. The group includes six adult students and the instructor is Dr. Monica Bontty of UCLA. The instruction emphasizes the Egyptian background of the Coptic language.

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a. Newsletter - Subscriber's Edition: Four issues of volume five of the Subscriber's Edition were published and mailed to our members and other selected individuals throughout the world. We also continued with the abridged regular edition for non-members.

b. Coptica: The long-awaited joint periodical between St. Mark Foundation and our Society is finally out. A total of 10 articles by scholars and students from four different countries were included. The reception of this volume was very favorable among scholars and lay Copts alike. The second issue will feature the papers presented in the Wadi al-Natrun Symposium (February 2002).

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Coptic Encyclopedia

Over the past year, the Society completed the work on the electronic version of the Coptic Encyclopedia on behalf of St. Mark Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. This work was by far the largest and most important single work in Coptic Studies, written in English that was ever published. The release date of late December 2001 was met but its distribution was halted before it started early this year. The reason was the Patriarchate felt that its distribution in its original form would give the false impression that the Coptic Church agrees with all its contents. It was felt that some of the articles needed more corrections than just an annotated comment as was planned earlier. The alternative was to create a committee to identify all these articles and compose a replacement ones. Due to the busy schedule of H.H. Pope Shenouda, such committee has not been formed. Thus the release date has been pushed down for a couple of years. The electronic edition is formatted in a similar fashion to the Coptic CD, i.e. Adobe Acrobat format.

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Prepared by Hany N. Takla 12/31/2003

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