St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society

Society Progress 1996-7

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On June 28, 1997, the Society held its first symposium of Coptic Studies. It dealt with the subjects of Coptic Church History and Coptic Liturgy. Bishop Serapion, the Coptic bishop of Los Angeles and its surrounding areas, was in attendance and delivered the opening Address. The symposium was divided into four sessions that lasted from the morning to the late afternoon of that Saturday. Approximately 80 people were in attendance in one or more of these sessions. A total of twelve papers were presented, six in each subject, by eleven participants. This event marked another active step that the Society is taking to promote scholarly research among the Coptic Community.

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The Society's monumental work in publishing the treasures that the Coptic Heritage possesses, has continued. We have expanded the scope that this series will cover to include literature written in Arabic for use in the Coptic Church such as Patristic, Hagiographic, and Liturgical texts. This would increase the number of volumes planned by over 50%. The work is concentrated now on the biblical section, the life of St. Shenouda the Archimandrite, and the Martyrdom of St. John of Phanidjoit. In the biblical section we added more texts from many dialects such as the Sahidic Wisdom books of Solomon and Ben Sira, the Akhmimic Minor Prophets, Middle-Egyptian Psalms, and Asyutic Gospel of St. St. John. We also started on the assembling dismembered Sahidic books such as Genesis and Tobit. The latter was published in the last issue of the Society's bulletin. A preliminary report was published in commemoration of the Center's Open House on December 4, 1993, copies are still available to be ordered.

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a. The Nagi Khalil Coptic Software Center (NKCSC): During the past year, we added a fourth title to our Software list, the Bohairic-English Coptic Lectionary (NKCSC-CG1). This includes all the readings in the Coptic Church for any day of the year except Sundays, Lent, Pascha, and Paschaltide. The parallel English translation is from the King James Version, with the exception of the Psalms which were translated from Coptic directly. The Software works under Windows 3.1 or 3.11 and requires Word for Windows 2.0 or 6.0. A separate version for Windows 95 which runs under the Windows Help system has also been prepared.

b. Coptic CD: We began to develop our first CD of Coptic instructional and research material. The files will be in Adobe Acrobat format. It will include an Introductory Bohairic Grammar with sounds, Bohairic-English dictionary, Bohairic/Sahidic/English/Greek New Testament in at least six different parallel editions, and a Bohairic-English Annual Lectionary for the days (or feasts). This format allow search as well as printing without having the Coptic Fonts installed. The CD is scheduled for distribution in January 1998.

c. Image Digitizing: This past year, we continued our efforts to digitize microfilm images of some of the manuscripts being worked on. Nearly 500 images have been scanned and they are in the process of being put in archival storage on a computer CD The size of our microfilm and slides collection will keep us busy for a long time to come.

d. Computer at the Coptic Center: This year we upgraded our computer capability at our Coptic Center to better handle the needs of the users of the facilities. This included building a new PC system, installing a small office Ethernet Network (LAN); developing a computer instructional display; providing Coptic, English, and Arabic word-processing capability, and installing office Intranet system. There is more Hardware upgrade that we need to do as well as developing the Software tools needed to search our libraries.

e. Global Access (Internet): This year we continued our solid presence on the internet with our own domain name and with an adequate space to publish several documents about the Coptic Language, St. Shenouda, Coptic Studies, our Coptic Newsletters, and many other documents to promote the Coptic Heritage and its study. Our Address is still:


We are planning to add Adobe Acrobat documents that include bibliographies and other research material needed by people interested in Coptic Studies. We hope, God's willing, to be able to connect our own server. This will greatly expand the scope of material that we can present.

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During the past year the library grew to nearly 1,400 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 most notable additions, including items on order, were as follows:

a. Coptic Art/Architecture/Inscriptions: Butler, The Ancient Coptic Churches of Egypt, v-1 (Ar-Transl); Fagan, The Oxford Companion to Archaeology, Godlewski, Deir el-Bahri - Le Monastere de St. Phoibammon; Hondelink, Coptic Art and Culture; Huyghe, Three Lectures on Art; Innemee, Ecclesiastical Dress in the Medieval Near East; Leyden Univ., Essays on Coptic Art and Culture I (Ar); Messiha, Introduction to the Coptic Monuments (Ar); Rice & Rice, Icons -The Natasha Allen Collection Catalogue; Rice, Icons Art and Devotion; Bp. Samuel, Coptic Monuments that was discovered in the Era of Pope Shenouda III; D. Thompson, Mummy Portrait in the J. Paul Getty Museum; Tkaczow, The Topography of Ancient Alexandria - An Archaeological Map; Volback, Early Christian Art.

b. Coptic Bible, Old & New: Aland, Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum; Kohlenberger, The Parallel Apocrypha; Kohlenberger, The Precise Parallel New Testament; Lust et al, A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint pt.1 A-I; Metzger, An Introduction to the Apocrpha; Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible; Strong, The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible; Swanson, New Testament Greek Manuscripts Gospels (4 vol); Swete, The Old Testament in Greek according to the Septuagint 2nd ed. 1896.

c. Coptic Festschrifts and conference proceedings: Bilde et al, Apocryphon Severini presented to Soren Giversen; Geller & Maehler, Legal Documents of the Helenistic World; Getty Museum, Alexandria and the Alexandrianism; Godlewski, Coptic Studies - Acts of the 3rd International Congress of Coptic Studies

d. Canon Law and Legal Texts: Bilde et al; Ethnicity in Hellenistic Egypt; Haas, Alexandria in Late Antiquity - Topography and Social Conflict; Worp; Greek Papyri from Kellis I (P.Kell. G);

e. Coptic Hagiography: Anonymous, Between the Faith and the Building - Lights on the Life of Hegemon Mikhail Saad 1909-1996 (Ar); Anonymous, St Mina - The Miraculous, His Life History and Miracles; Convent of St. George, History and the Biographies of the Great Martyr St. George the Roman and St. George of Alexandria; Kirolos, Coptic Orthodox Book of Saints part II; Martyros al-Suriani, The Great Saint St. John the Short known as Abu Yahnnis (AR); O'Leary, The Arabic Life of St. Pisentius

f. Coptic History and Geography: Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity; Cuno, The Pasha's Peasants - Land, Society, and Economy in Lower Egypt (1740-1858); El-Feki, Copts in Egyptian Politics; Frend, the Early Church; Grant, The Ancient Historians; Holt, Early Mamluk Diplomacy (1260-1290); M. Kamel, Coptic Egypt; Kepel, Muslim Extremism in Egypt - The Prophet and Pharaoh; Fr. T. Malaty, The School of Alexandria - Origen; D. al­Masri, Iris Habib al-Masri - Historian of the Story of the Coptic Church (Ar); Mitchell, Colonising Egypt; O'Conner, Ancient Nubia Egypt's Rival in Africa; F. E. Peters, The Harvest of Hellenism; Save-Soderbergh, Pharaohs and Mortals; Shoshan, Popular Culture in Medieval Cairo; Al-Tabari, The Early Abbasi Empire (2 vol.); Taschen, Description de L'Egypte; Toledano, State and Society in Mid-Nineteenth Century Egypt; Zachariah al-Antuni, Pope Cyril IV (Ar);

g. Coptic Language: Loprieno, Ancient Egyptian - A Linguistic Introduction;.

h. Coptic Liturgy: Anonymous, Annual Psalis - Watos and Adam Pt. 1 Tut-Amshir (Bohairic-Ar); Burmester, Le Lectionnaire de la Semaine Sainte V.2; Kuhn & Wait, Thirteen Coptic Acrostic Hymns from M574 of the Pierpont Morgan Library.

i. Coptic Literature/Patristics: Brakke, Athanasius and the Politics of Asceticism; Chadwick, Early Christian Thought and the Classical Tradition; Clark, the Origenist Controversy - The Cultural Construction of an Early Christian Debate; Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers (5 vol)

j. Coptic Monasticism: Binns, Ascetics and Ambassadors of Christ - the Monasteries of Palestine 314-631; Burton-Christie, The Word in the Desert - Scripture and the Quest for Holiness in Early Christian Monasticism; Chitty, The Desert a City; Van Doorn-Harder, Contemporary Coptic Nuns; Elm, Virgins of God - The Making of Asceticism in Late Antiquity; Bp. Samuel, Life and Sayings of Saint Simeon the Stylite and the life of the Stylites (Ar); Vivian, Journeying into God - Seven Early Monastic Lives.

k. Coptic Theology/Religion: Bundley, The Oecumenical Documents of the Faith (4th Ed.); Budge, Egyptian Religion; Budge, The Mummy - Funeral Rites and Customs in Ancient Egypt; Bp. Gregorious, Life after Death (Ar); Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition v.1, v2-1, v2-2, v2-4; Widdicombe, The Fatherhood of God from Origen to Athanasius.

l. Coptic Apocrypha/Gnosticism: Frankfurter, Elijah in Upper Egypt; Meyer, The Gospel of Thomas - the Hidden Sayings of Jesus; Robinson, The Nag Hammasi Library.

m. Periodicals: A full set of Coptic Church Review back issues (17 volumes). Two volumes of bound St. Mark Magazine, issued in Egypt. The most recent volumes of Coptologia, Le Monde Copte, Coptic Church Review, Al-Risala Newsletter, Sunday School Magazine, and the monthly book of the Patristic Center in Egypt.

n. Miscellaneous: Nunn, Ancient Egyptian Medicine.

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I. Manuscripts: The greatest asset of the Society has been its Microfilm library, or more accurately its Microform library. It was formed as early as 1980 and has expanded ever since. During this past year we have made three major acquisitions that totaled about 23,000 frames. This brings the size of the library to about 225,000 frames. The acquisitions were of 17 Christian Arabic and three lexical Coptic manuscripts from the Paris National Library (P); 8,500 manuscript shelf items from the Austrian National Library (V); and eight Coptic and Christian Arabic manuscripts from the University of Göttingen Library (G). The Austrian material is a miscellaneous collection of literary and non-literary texts, containing nearly 16,000 frames. The microfilms are classified in the following categories:

II. Research Material: The Society this year added several more titles to its mammoth collection of microfiche of research material in the field of Coptic Studies. This additions were mainly part of the Society's SSCMC project for microfilming Coptic Studies printed material. The SSCMC collection has more than 2,000 microfiche. Many of these will be available for purchase by scholars and interested individuals. They can be ordered through our Internet site.

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The Advanced Coptic Seminar, meeting on Sunday evenings, is nearing the conclusion of its work on the 10th century manuscript of the Homily of St. Theodosius of Alexandria on the Virgin Mary. A second session for translating Sahidic Apophthgamata Patrum Texts is also continuing. The Manuscripts workshop is continuing, slowly but surely. The Intermediate Coptic Seminar was also offered during the past year. A new Introductory Coptic is in session on Wednesday evenings. A Coptic Bible reading course has also started on Saturday evenings with text selections from the Bohairic version of Genesis. All classes are conducted at the Center by the Society's president, Hany N. Takla.

The first fruit of the comprehensive Coptic Studies Curriculum, that was announced earlier started with the Coptic Old Testament reading course. However, we have implemented this 3-year program yet. This will include about 21 courses with 30-hours of instructions each. It will cover all aspects of Coptic Studies that are necessary for the Preservation and Revival of the Coptic Heritage. The level of instructions will be at Upper Division to Graduate University Level. Instructions will emphasize Manuscript research and methodology. A fee will be charged for these classes.

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a. Newsletter: The Coptic Center staff continued to publish the quarterly newsletter which is bringing out some of the work being done using the resources available at the Center. Four issues of volume three were published and mailed to our members and others interested individuals throughout the world. With the success that this effort was met with, we started with a separate, expanded Subscriber's Edition as well as an abridged regular edition for non-members

b. Annual Bulletin: Volume 3, came out earlier this year. It included a collection of 3 articles by our members. It was sent to all dues-paying members as part of their membership. All others interested in sampling this work, will be able to do so at a nominal fee.

c. Life of St. John the Little: Rev Dr. Tim Vivian of Bakersfield has collaborated with Mr. Maged S. Mikhail in the edition of the Coptic life of St. John the Little in English. The Bohairic version was translated by Mr. Mikhail and reviewed by Dr. Vivian who also translated the extant Sahidic fragments as well as prepared a scholarly, detailed introduction to the work. The Coptic text was supplied from the library of Coptic texts gathered under the auspicious of the Treasures of the Coptic Church project. This work, which appeared in English for the first time, was published as a double issue of the Coptic Church Review, a quarterly publication of work related to the Coptic Church. In recognition of the importance of that work as well as the affiliation of the authors to the Society, we decided to be a distributor of such an edition.

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Prepared by Hany N. Takla 10/20/98

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