Frequently Asked Questions

What is a "diplomatic edition"?

What is a "normalized edition"?

What are Coptic Scriptorium's standards for a normalized edition?

What is PAULA XML?

What is TEI XML?

What is ANNIS?

What font and character set does SCRIPTORIUM use? (Click here if your browser displays squares or illegible characters instead of Coptic characters.)

Who is Shenoute?

What is "Acephalous Work 22"?

What is "Abraham Our Father"?

What is "Not Because A Fox Barks"?

Who is Besa?

Who is Aphthonia?

Do you have an Advisory Board?

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What is a "diplomatic edition"?

In manuscript studies, "diplomatic edition" usually refers to a transcription of a manuscript's text that adheres as closely as possible to the what is seen in the manuscript. A diplomatic edition strives to reproduce faithfully the original's characters, punctuation, and formatting (including word segmentation, line breaks, column breaks, and other visualizations). Rarely is a diplomatic edition a true diplomatic edition. Coptic Scriptorium preserves spelling, punctuation, line breaks, column breaks, page breaks.

What is a "normalized edition"?

In manuscript studies, "normalized edition" usually refers to a transcription of a manuscript's text that normalizes and standardizes the text for ease of use for the reader. In contrast to the diplomatic edition, it might provide any number of the following features: word segmentation and sentence segmentation based on modern editorial standards; standardized spelling of words throughout the text (e.g., in Coptic Scriptorium both ϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ and ϫⲟⲓⲥ are normalized to ϫⲟⲉⲓⲥ); punctuation based on modern standards; removal of ancient strokes, punctuation, and/or accents; standardization of abbreviations (or expansions of all abbreviations into their full words or phrases).

What are Coptic Scriptorium's conventions in a normalized edition?

Coptic Scriptorium provides a visualization of a normalized text, which for the most part follows the system of forming and segmenting Coptic words provided in Bentley Layton's A Coptic Grammar (2nd ed., 2004). The normalized version uses modern punctuation, standardizes spelling, expands all abbreviations (including Coptic nomina sacra), and removes all supralinear strokes and accentuation.

What is PAULA XML?

Paula XML is an form of Extensible Markup Language (XML) designed for stand-off markup. In stand-off markup, a document is encoded with layers of annotation, in contrast to inline markup, which uses inline tagsets (<>) embedded in the text in one file.

What is TEI XML?

TEI XML is a set of standardized Extensible Markup Language (XML) designed by the Text Encoding Initiative especially for the markup of texts, including manuscripts. TEI XML has become a widely adopted standard. Coptic Scriptorium provides texts encoded in the EpiDoc subset of TEI XML. EpiDoc is a subset of TEI originally designed by and for epigraphers. It has been adopted as a standard by many projects encoding ancient texts, most notably papyri.info.

What is ANNIS?

ANNIS is an open source, versatile web browser-based search and visualization architecture for corpora of texts in linguistic research.

What font and character set does SCRIPTORIUM use? (Read this if your browser displays squares or illegible characters instead of Coptic characters.)

Coptic SCRIPTORIUM encodes all the Coptic text in the Coptic Unicode (UTF-8) characters following the standard Unicode Coptic and Coptic in Greek character sets. Not all characters display without a Coptic font installed. The free font, Antinoou (developed by Michael Everson in consultation with the International Association of Coptic Studies), has been embedded into most of the site's resources, so that users should be able to read the text even if the font is not installed on their computers. The search form also contains an embedded, on-screen keyboard, so that users can enter Coptic characters.

If you are experiencing any difficulties reading or typing the characters, we recommend downloading and installing the Antinoou font and keyboard.

Who is Shenoute?

Shenoute of Atripe led a monastic community of men and women in Egypt from the 380s to approximately 465 CE. The monastery is often referred to as "the White Monastery." Shenoute himself organized his large corpus of texts into volumes. There are nine volumes of Canons, writings primarily for monks, which contain rules, letters, and other monastic texts. Multiple copies of each volume of the Canons survived in codices in the White Monastery's ancient library. Today, however, the White Monastery codices containing Shenoute's writings are fragmented, with pages in at least 28 musems, libraries, or other repositories around the globe. Most of Shenoute's texts, following Emmel, are known by their incipit (their first few words or first line).

What is "Acephalous Work 22"?

"Acephalous Work 22" (sometimes abbreviated A22) is a text written in the Sahidic dialect of Coptic by Shenoute. It is located in Volume 3 of Shenoute's Canons for monks. Only fragments of copies of Canon 3 survive. Coptic Scriptorium includes select known manuscript witnesses of A22 as documented by Stephen Emmel in his book, Shenoute's Literary Corpus. The text is called "Acephalous" because the text's incipit (its beginning) remains unknown.

What is "Abraham Our Father"?

"Abraham Our Father" is a letter written in the Sahidic dialect of Coptic by the monk Shenoute. Abraham Our Father was preserved in Volume Three of his Canons for monks. Only fragments of copies of Canon 3 survive. Coptic Scriptorium includes the known manuscript witnesses of the letter as documented by Stephen Emmel in his book, Shenoute's Literary Corpus. We also provide an aligned translation by Rebecca S. Krawiec, which also utilizes material published by Heike Behlmer in “The Recovery of the Coptic Sources for the Study of Gender in Late Antiquity,” Orientalia 73 (2004): 255–69.

What is "Not Because a Fox Barks"?

"Not Because a Fox Barks" is a text written in the Sahidic dialect of Coptic by the monk Shenoute. "Not Because a Fox Barks" is preserved in Volume Four of his Discourses. The name comes from the incipit of the text. (The incipit in our English translation is slightly different, but we use the more well-known "Not Because a Fox Barks" as the name of the text.) Our transcription and diplomatic annotations are based on Émile Chassinat, Le quatrième livre des entretiens et épitres de Shenouti (Cairo: Imprimerie de l'Institut français d'archólogie orientale, 1911). This is one of Shenoute's most studied texts. He writes about a local landowner and politically influential figure, Gessius, whom scholars have identified as the historical figure Flavius Aelius Gessius. See especially Stephen Emmel on the "Gesios dossier" of Shenoute's writings: "Shenoute of Atripe and the Christian Destruction of the Temples in Egypt: Rhetoric and Reality" in Johannes HahnStephen EmmelUlrich Gotter, eds., From Temple to Church: Destruction and Renewal of Local Cultic Topography in Late Antiquity (Leiden: Brill, 2008).

Who is Besa?

Besa was leader of the White Monastery in Egypt after Shenoute in the late 5th century. His surviving writings (from White Monastery manuscripts) were published by K. H. Kuhn in his Letters and Sermons of Besa, 2 vols, Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium 157-58, Scriptores Coptici 21-22. Louvain: L. Durbecq, 1956. Coptic SCRIPTORIUM texts in the Besa corpus were created from consulting photographs of the original manuscripts.

Who is Aphthonia?

Aphthonia was a nun at the Women's Community in the White Monastery Federation in the 5th century. She was the daughter of a comes (a local official) called Alexandros, but lived in the monastery apart from her natural family. In Besa's letter to her, Aphthonia is admonished for not regarding the monastery's Mother as her true mother, for secretly receiving a parcel from her parents, for telling her parents that she'd been abused at the monastery, and for inspiring sedition in a fellow nun. The letter would have been publicly read to the congregation, which is also addressed in the text.

Do you have an Advisory Board?
Yes. The current Advisory Board members are listed on our About page.