Untitled Notebook of Coptic-language Lessons


This manuscript contains a Coptic grammar and vocabulary notes compiled by Father Girgis Murqus of Akhmīm, Upper Egypt. It includes lists of common phrases in Coptic with Arabic translation.  It probably was used by the author as a teaching guide for beginning Coptic classes. It is similar to the primers of Iryan Moftah (1826–86), a prominent teacher of Coptic and linguistic reformer, but it also includes verb exercises. The notebook is missing several pages and the binding is in poor condition. Arabic words are occasionally misspelled. The exact date of the manuscript is unknown, but it probably was created in the 1870s. The grammar takes up more than half the notebook. At the end are several pages of English phrases with Arabic translation, personal financial accounts, and a three-page madihah (panegyric) on the life of Saint John the Evangelist. The manuscript is important because it demonstrates how the language reforms advocated by Iryan Moftah were adopted by other teachers of Coptic. The work is part of the Iryan Moftah Collection of Coptic Books and Manuscripts at the American University in Cairo.

Last updated: May 27, 2014