Lot 3
  • 3

Gospel of Mark, in Coptic

12,000 - 18,000 USD
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  • Leaf from the Gospel of St Mark, in Coptic. [Upper Egypt, ca. 800-1100 AD]
  • vellum
Single leaf on vellum (ca. 10 1/4 x 8 1/4 in.; 260 x 210 mm). 2 columns, 30 lines, with irregular margins, stains and holes


Formatting the Word of God 1.1 

Catalogue Note

The Gospel of Mark written Sahidic dialect in a formal Coptic uncial hand of early Mediaeval date. The recto of the leaf begins with Mark 6:15 and the verso with Mark 6:21, although the text seems to diverge from the standard Sahidic text. The writing and lination bears a striking resemblance to the hand of the Coptic monk and scribe known as Apa Petros, who lived around 1100 AD (according to some of his colophons), but has also been dated paleographically by scholars to the 7th century AD. The leaf very likely derives from the White Monastery near Sohag in Upper Egypt, named after Saint Schenouda the Archimandrite.

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.”