During the past twelve months singularly few publications relating to
Christian Egypt have appeared. The French Mission at Cairo seems to
be devoting its energies chiefly to the monuments of earlier epochs.
Signor Rossi has declared that the Turin papyri have been finally
exhausted by the interesting texts -which he gave us last year, and
official duties at the Propaganda still delay the louged-for continuation
of Msgr. Ciasca's Fragmenta. Even M. Amelineau, hitherto by far
the most active editor in the field, has refrained from printing the quarto
volume that we had grown used to expect.
Indeed, there seem to be only three books to call, this year, for our
attention. But the importance of one at any rate of them is a com-
pensation for such apparent inactivity. Professor Krall, whose com-
petence to take advantage of his unique opportunities has been amply
demonstrated in his contributions to the Mittheilungen of the great
Uainer collection, has at length brought out an instalment of the long-
promised Corpus.1 This volume contains all those "legal" documents
—to use the most comprehensive term—in which the Vienna collection
is so extraordinarily rich. Indeed, no other European museum—with
the possible exception of the Louvre, where a considerable number of
similar papyri were probably acquired within recent times—can at all
compare its treasures in this particular with those in Vienna. Professor
Krall reckons in all 4000 Coptic documents, of which about 220 are
classed as legal, and published here. These consist of deeds of sale,
acknowledgments of debt, receipts for payment, guarantees, leases,
loans, statements of wages, deeds of gift, agreements as to choice of
arbitrators, as well as various lists of places, and proper names, accounts,
and so forth. Even the numerous unidentifiable fragments are not
omitted, and their inclusion is well justified by the number of interesting
points which can be collected from a careful study of them.
Accustomed as we are to look to the monasteries of 'Abdal-Kurnahfor
all information on the legal circumstances of Coptic life, this unexpected
crowd of fresh material is as surprising as it is welcome. Professor
Krall has been frequently able to illustrate his new documents by
parallel passages from the published Jeme papyri. None, of course, of
1 Corpus Papyrorum Raineri, vol. ii. Koptische Te.rte herausgegeben von J.
Krall; I. Band—Rechtsurkunden. Wien, 1895.