Peogbess of Egyptology.
Coptic salutation, written in excellent uncials by the same hand to which
the cursively written letter itself is due. Messrs. Grenfell and Hunt date
the latter in the late 4th or early 5th century, whence we obtain a rela-
tively definite standard for estimating a series of MSS. in similar uncials.
Prof. Spiegelberg has contributed notes upon the etymologies of various
Coptic words ;28 among them be explains the obscure semisi (Exod. i. 16)
as "bearing-stool," the rare words tosh as "grind" (corn), and shaar as
"be angry" (instead of "strike"). In Middle Egyptian Mat. xiv. 6 he
explains dk-het ( — fjpeoev) as from hieroglyphic 'k.
M. de Piicci points out29 that, among the texts of the Corpus Inscr.
Graec, two, at any rate (nos. 4706, 9863), have no right there, since they
are not Greek but Coptic. He gives the correct reading of each. The
first (also in JBeni Hasan, ii. 66) contains a place-name, Tghames.
The unique example at Cambridge of an Arabic text transliterated into
the Coptic script has been already studied by Le Page Eenouf (P. 8.B.A.
xi. 112) and Amelineau (Rec. xii). M. Casanova has now made a still
more minute examination of its system of transliteration.30 The text,
which is from the Vitae Patrum, is an example of the vulgar idiom,
closely resembling that of the Arabic version of the Life of Pachomius.
M. Casanova attributes both to the 10th century, when he discerns a
temporary revival in Coptic literature. It must, however, be noted that
the MS. itself is, in all probability, of the second half of the 13th
century. Is it to be assumed that texts in this peculiar form would
be re-copied through two centuries ?
Besides transcriptions, there existed actual translations from Arabic into
Coptic. M. Casanova has studied the best known of these—the
martyrdom of John of Phanijoit, fl209—with very instructive results.31
He shows that most of the obscure Coptic expressions can be explained as
attempts to transliterate the x'lrabic.
Prof. Benigni, following the example ot M. Clugnet's liturgical
dictionary of the Greek Church, has compiled something similar from
The seventeenth century is usually supposed to have seen the final
extinction of Coptic as a living language. Mr. Quibell quotes33 the
statement, however, of a missionary to show that in the Theban
neighbourhood (Kfis) it could still be heard in the first quarter of the
19th century. ' Indeed, it is said to be even now hardly extinct. It
would be interesting to verify this rumour.
6. Art, Archaeology, Excavations. It has been known for some time
that M. Gayet's long acquaintance with Christian Egypt was to result in a