Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Coptic Digital Resources


[N.B. I am now keeping this list up-to-date on my personal website (here). Unfortunately, Blogger did not allow me to edit this list for several months, so I had to make the move.]

Coptic is the final phase of the Ancient Egyptian language which began in the 3rd century. After the Muslim conquest of 642, Sahidic Coptic becomes the nationalistic and religious language of native Egyptians. Several other regional dialects are prominent (Fayumic, Akhmimic, Sub-Akhmimic, Middle Egyptian, etc...). By the 9th century, Coptic is replaced in the documentary papyri by Egypt. Bohairic Coptic (the dialect of the Nile Delta) becomes prominent as the medieval language of Monastic Egypt and is still present in some parts of Coptic Christian liturgy today. Coptic was one of the first languages into which the Greek New Testament was translated.

Listed below are the main internet resources for the Coptic language. If anybody else knows of good ones, please post them and I will update this list.


Nova Sahidica parallel Coptic and Greek Text This includes downloadable and browser viewable versions of the Sahidic and Bohairic texts with Greek interlinear.

A downloadable Coptic-Arabic New Testament (Bohairic, free)

Coptic New Testament, lectionary and dictionary CD (All dialects, $50) I have found some minor errors in the Sahidic, but this is largely very reliable and based on the current scholarly editions.

Sahidic New Testament and Nag Hammadi, PHI CD # 7 (free). For scholars only! The search engine for this can cost a ton. I have found that Diogenes works very well and is free. The only problem is that Coptic unicode is still in development, so the Greek letters show up in standard unicode Greek. Email the Packhard Humanities Institute (phi [!at!] packhum.org) for more information.

Logos Sahidica Parallel GNT and dictionary ($89.95). This is on pre-pub. The full cost will be significantly higher.

E-Sword Sahidic New Testament (Free) This is the only resource now available which is in unicode.

Remenkimi – NT and OT in Bohairic and Sahidic This is the only place to get electronic versions of the OT. You have to download many fonts and they do not have all the texts.


Coptic Standard Fonts These fonts have been developed with a universal keyboard so that any font will make sense even if read by another. I have made my own for palaeographic diacritics. Let me know if you want it.

St-Takla.org Coptic Fonts N.B., the password is http://st-takla.org/.

Moheb Mekhaiel' Coptic Unicode Page

How to enter Coptic Unicode (Donald Mastronarde)


Yahoo - Remenkimi Thread Want to converse in Bohairic with some Orthodox Copts?


Forum of the Coptic Language

Grammar/Learning the Coptic

Ambrose Boles Links Ambrose is training to be a doctor, but has a nice collection of Coptic resources on the web. A couple have been developed by him and are especially useful for the New Testament.

Lance Eccles' Resources Lance has created some wonderful surveys of grammatical forms and construction helpful to the beginner and more advanced student.

Heike Behlmer's Coptic Dialects Bibliography

Peter Williams' Coptic Bible Bibliography

A Key to the Exercises in Lambdin’s Coptic Grammar


Crum's Dictionary This is the standard in Coptic research. It has recently been republished by Wipf and Stock.

Sahidica Dictionary (Lexicon)


Koptische Grammatik by M. G. Schwartze (Berlin, 1850)

Sub-Akhmimic of John by Herbert Thompson (London, 1924)

Other Databases

The Duke Papyrus Archive: Coptic

Banque de données des textes coptes documentaires This online database of all Coptic documentary texts is searchable in French.
CMCL (Corpus of Coptic Literary Manuscripts) This is Tito Orlandi's database of Coptic Literary texts. Subscription costs 180 Euro, but apparently the database holds everything a person could want to read in Coptic.


  1. Logos Sahidica site:
    "Lastly, while English is related to Latin, in some important respects it is quite similar to the Sahidic. Where Greek has the definite article (the) but no indefinite article (a, an) and Latin and Syriac have no articles at all, Sahidic has both the definite and indefinite articles. Moreover, Sahidic article usage is quite similar to English."

    What do they mean by "Syriac has no articles at all?"

    What about the terminal aleph?

  2. DB wrote: What about the terminal aleph?

    Unlike in earlier dialects of Aramaic, the final aleph in Syriac has simply become part of the noun, and if you want to show definiteness you need to add a following pronoun.
    See paragraph 70 in Noldeke's Syriac Grammar.

    Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm still in the learning stages and enjoy reading this blog.

  3. It is good to see that the Coptic versions are no longer the forgotten "stepchild" of New Testament studies. As Stanley E. Porter said in Handbook to Exegesis of the New Testament, pp. 67, 68, "The earliest translations were the Latin, Syriac and Coptic versions (though not necessarily in that order), and they retain the greatest importance....The ancient versions are significant in the search for the most likely original Greek text, especially the three earliest ones, Coptic, Syriac and Latin."

    See my Coptic blog at:


  4. While there's nothing available yet, it's probably worth keeping any eye on the Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts at BYU, which promises a Coptic section.

    Also, Google Books has A Coptic Palimpsest Containing Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Judith and Esther in the Sahidic Dialect by Herbert Thompson (Oxford, 1911) available for download here, Grammaire copte by Alexis Mallon, S.J. (Beirut, 1907) here, and Koptische Grammatik by M. G. Schwartze (Berlin, 1850) here.


  5. Thanks, John. I was unable to find two of the downloads you mentioned, could you check the links?

  6. I have created 3 free Sahidic Modules for e-Sword, the popular freeware Bible program. They are based on the Sahidica Text and Lexicon.

    You can download them here:

    e-Sword Original Languages Library

  7. Just a correction. The sahidica website can always be found using the www.sahidica.org url. I had to move it to a different location when I lost the integlogic.com url. Bohairica 1.0 is now on the site and plans for Sahidica 2.0 are there also.

  8. A very late entry to this topic, but you haven't listed Plumley's Coptic grammar, at http://www.metalog.org/files/plumley/html/TOC.HTM

  9. hi, you can also try this new project, contains coptic and greek dictionary, many coptic and greek text, WLC also, grammars, and more. good luck.


  10. "Nova Sahidica parallel Coptic and Greek Text" —this link is now dead.