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Coptic Psalter - Fr Gregory - 29-07-2007 08:01 AM

I have recently obtained ?The Agpeya. The Coptic Book of Hours? [translated by Fr Matthias Farid Wahba](St Antonius Coptic Orthodox Church, Hayward, CA, 2nd ed 1999) with the Psalms translated from the Coptic version of the Old Testament. Other versions of the Agbia use the translation of the Psalms from the Septuagint (for example, that published by St George?s Coptic Church in Booklyn, 1975) or the New King James Version (for example, the translation by Fr Markos Hanna of St Mary Coptic Church in Los Angeles, 1987)

The Coptic text of the Old Testament does not seem to have been published in full English translation, although parts of it are available. I am aware of two versions of the Psalter in English (both, alas, now very dated):

Sir E.A. Wallis Budge ?The Earliest Known Coptic Psalter: The Text, in the Dialect of Upper Egypt, Edited from the Unique Papyrus Codex Oriental 5000 in the British Museum? Kegan Paul, London, 1898;

William H. Worrell (ed) ?The Coptic Psalter in the Freer Collection? The Macmillan Company, New York, 1916.

There are, however, a number of scholarly commentaries (now, also, also dated) considering the importance of the Coptic Psalter. For example:

J. Dyneley Prince ?Two Versions of the Coptic Psalter? in ?Journal of Biblical Literatur? Vol. 21, No. 1 (1902) pp. 92-99
M. Sprengling ?A Coptic Psalter? in ?The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures?, Volume 34 (1905) page 144

The New Testament is more readily available: the earliest translation into English was George William Horner?s ?The Coptic Version of the New Testament in the Southern Dialect, Otherwise Called Sahidic and Thebaic? 7 volumes. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1911. This is, of course, many years out of print, and very rare.

However, from Logos Bible Software [http://www.logos.com/products/prepub/details/2934] comes an announcement that the following are now available:

?Sahidica: The New Testament According to the Sahidic Coptic Text?
Sahidica: The New Testament According to the Sahidic Coptic Text is a complete edition of the Sahidic NT. Standing on the shoulders of the two most recent editions of the Sahidic NT (George Horner?s seven volume edition and the Packard Humanities Institute?s updated version of the same), this text amends the idiosyncrasies of the prior two editions to create the most complete and up-to-date Sahidic New Testament available. Featuring uniformity in spelling, punctuation and other usage as is found in standard Greek editions, the Sahidic text found in the Sahidic Coptic Collection is intended to be coherent, consistent, and easy-to-use. Standardization and simplicity was the goal, allowing the text to be valuable to students and instructors as well as translators and textual critics.

?Sahidica: The New Testament According to the Egyptian Greek Text?
Sahidica: The New Testament According to the Egyptian Greek Text is a Greek version of the NT based on the CCAT lemmatized version of the United Bible Societies? text. Its purpose is to provide a parallel Greek text from the Egyptian sources that most likely acted as the basis for the Sahidic version. Featuring uncial, all capitalized text, this simplified edition has been altered to correspond to the Sahidic only where there is support in the UBS apparatus. The simplification allows the student or researcher to better compare differences between the Sahidic and the standard Greek texts.

?Sahidica: The Sahidic Lexicon?
Sahidica: The Sahidic Lexicon rounds out the collection. It provides a handy gloss on over 1200 terms, including every term found in the Sahidic New Testament twenty or more times. A valuable tool for any study of the Sahidic NT.

A further excellent work of translation by Fr Matthias Farid Wahba is ?The Holy Psalmody? [Keemy Brothers, Encino CA, 2004], the book of morning, evening and midnight praises used in the Coptic Orthodox Church. It contains the daily Psalis and Theotokias, as well as the Verses of the Cymbals, the Doxologies and the Psalis for the whole year. It is contains the texts in Coptic, Arabic and English.

Both the Ageya and the Psalmody are available from The Orthodox Bookstoe [www.OrthodoxBookstore.org].

Fr Gregory