general view of the subject has been attempted, and Leipoldt's contribution
to the Litteraty/ren des Ostens will be welcomed.4* In 50 pages he gives
an admirable account of the rise and decline of what was pre-eminently ' a
literature of immediate needs,' called into being through the rapid
conversion of an illiterate peasantry to the new religion. Hence the
uncouth translations, the simple nature of the works translated. The
chronological sequence of the literary dialects is shown—Achmimic, Sa'idic,
Bohairic—and the moulding influence of Shenoute, even upon the Bible
text of his day. Unusual attention is paid to the popular poetry (hymns),
which in the later periods seems the only conspicuous form of literature.
(I learn that a special study of these metrical compositions will shortly be
published by H. Junker.) The poverty of secular works is ascribed to the
constant lack of political security and quiet. Bohairic literature L. regards
as a purely post-moslim product, of which we should scarcely have heard,
had it not chanced to be in the idiom of the patriarchs. There are
indeed some imsolved problems still in the history of this dialect. How
comes it that of it alone no trace survives of common, daily use—no
letters, documents ? Are climatic conditions an adequate explanation ?
6. Non-literary Texts.—GuiDl publishes45 a stele of a.d. 751 and an
interesting ostracon, illustrating the legal (?) formula, ' Here is God's word
to thee,' &c. He also gives corrections, from the originals, to the texts in
Mallon's C'hrestomathie, with several valuable remarks, and reprints
accurately the Middle Egyptian colophon, Zoega, p. 105.
Pellegrini prints46 17 short texts, mostly ostraca, from the Florence
museum, correcting incidentally the readings of those included in (Drum's
Ostraca. One of them is a legal deed, on leather, from Jeme, another an
An article in Cabrol's Dictionary by Leclercq,47 on ' Athanasius ' in
epigraphy, gives the well-known letter to monks from a Theban tomb and
a few smaller inscriptions.
In the same work Lefebvre gives an epigraphic account of ' Athribis.'48
At Benha, the northern Athribis, Lefebvre found a Greek epitaph, witli
some unusual formulae.49
7. Philology.—The rapidity with which Steindorff's and Mallon's Coptic
Grammars have reached second editions is a striking proof of the growing
interest taken in the language. M. has now50 separated his Sa'idic material
—intended only as illustrative of the Bohairic—into an appendix.
Profiting by Guidi's emendations, he has somewhat remodelled the chresto-
mathy and has further increased the already full bibliography. Spiegel-
berg has reviewed the first edition, with certain criticisms.51