ZOOM SEMINAR: Textual Fluidity in Coptic Literary Manuscripts: An Interactive Seminar

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: Via Zoom
  • Lecturer: Ivan Miroshnikov, Pro Futura Scientia Fellow, SCAS. Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Egyptological Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow. Docent in Early Christian and Coptic Studies, University of Helsinki
  • Website
  • Organiser: Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
  • Contact person: Klas Holm
  • Seminarium

Ivan Miroshnikov, SCAS and Russian Academy of Sciences, gives a seminar on "Textual Fluidity in Coptic Literary Manuscripts: An Interactive Seminar". The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.

Abstract

Studying ancient and medieval manuscripts is always a lot of fun, but sometimes also a serious challenge. When it comes to the literary manuscripts written in Coptic (the final developmental stage of the Egyptian language), the challenge is usually twofold. First, most of our manuscripts survive in fragments. Quite often the extant leaves of a parchment codex are scattered across a dozen of manuscript collections in Egypt, Europe, and North America, and even when digitally reunited they would still bear witness to a mere fraction of the original book. In such cases, a Coptologist’s task resembles both detective work and the piecing together of a jigsaw puzzle (most of whose fragments are long lost). The second challenge lies in the great liberty with which Coptic scribes altered the text of their exemplars. Of course, the human heart is a mystery, and often we cannot know why our scribe decided to rewrite the text the way he did. Yet sometimes we can make a learned guess based on our understanding of Coptic literary culture, history of Egyptian Christianity, or even the inner logic of the text itself. Thus, during this interactive seminar, we will together look at three cases of textual fluidity. First, we will investigate various manifestations of divine wrath in the apocryphal Preaching of Philip the Apostle. Second, we will explore the reasons as to why Satan was banished from the heavens according to different versions of the Martyrdom of Saint George. Finally, we will take a look at a biblical manuscript from the Fayyūm, which makes a rather surprising change in the text of the apostle Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians. In the handouts, you will find the texts into which we are going to take a deep dive. You do not need to prepare anything for the meeting, but feel free to skim the handouts if you have a few minutes to kill.

For more information and the Zoom link, please see the enclosed PDF file or http://www.swedishcollegium.se/subfolders/Events.html.

Additional information