Dr. Ryrie summarized in the 1998 exhibition catalogue: “Of the older versions of the New Testament the most important is Coptic. It was the literary form of the vernacular language used in Egypt and other parts of North Africa in the early centuries of the Christian era. It owed its origin to the Greek settlement in Egypt, for not only were Greek characters adopted with some additional symbols for the script, but a number of Greek words were taken into the language. Coptic came into general use in the 2nd century A.D., and of the third. Two principal forms of Coptic are known, the Sahidic or Thebaic, and the Boharic also called the Alexandrian and Memphitic. The Sahidic is the version of Upper Egypt and is less polished than Boharic, the version of Lower Egypt.”
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