BMCR 2020.10.36

Koptisches Sammelbuch V

, Koptisches Sammelbuch V. Mitteilungen aus der Papyrussammlung der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, XXIII, 5. Pp. 253. ISBN 9783110670677 €119,95.

This is the fifth volume of a series in which Monika Hasitzka, who recently retired from her position at the Austrian National Library, gathers Coptic documentary texts published in journals  and collective volumes, to make it easier for scholars to use and refer to such texts. Her model is the Greek Sammelbuch of Friedrich Preisigke. Hasitzka started her project more than thirty years ago (the first volume appeared in 1993), when there was no Coptic documentary papyrology to speak of. Today, the field is flourishing, and its progress owes something to her pioneering work.

In the meantime, the prospect of entering texts directly into an electronic database has become a reality, and Coptic documentary texts can now be found in along with Greek documentary texts and much more. It is no longer essential to republish texts from journals and collective volumes in print. But there is as yet no standard way to refer to texts that are not published in monographs, which have their own sigla. Those who rely on tend to use whatever siglum is used there (e.g., BASP 52.71, meaning: a text published on p. 71 in BASP 52). Those who work at Leuven may be tempted to use Trismegistos numbers instead (e.g., TM14312, meaning: SB 10.10527, a text published on pp. 75-76 in BIFAO 65), and Arabic papyrologists assign special sigla to texts published in journals etc. (e.g., P.VanthieghemLocation for a text published on p. 191 in CdÉ 88). Of these, the first is the only sensible one, but if the text is subsequently republished in a monograph, it may be wiser to use the siglum for that edition (e.g., SB 10.10527 in the second example). Thus, the texts republished by Hasitzka are now known by their KSB number.

Hasitzka excludes literary texts, as Preisigke did, and she includes inscriptions, again as Preisigke did. (For the latter there is now an annual survey, CIEN, published in BASP.) The volume, as its four predecessors, is arranged by type of texts, which is a departure from the Greek Sammelbuch, which in recent decades has printed texts in the alphabetical order of journals and collected volumes such as Festschriften. Hasitzka’s typological division is helpful, but there is a downside: following the Greek Sammelbuch, she gives bibliographical references only once, and if an article publishes texts of more than one type, one sometimes has to look for the bibliographical reference scores of pages away. Hasitzka refers to the lemma with the full bibliographical reference with “a. a. O.” and the number in parentheses, e.g. at no. 2170, where it says “a. a. O. (2220).” She also flags translations and photos or their absence. She refers to scans, where available: this would have been much more useful in an electronic database. Hasitzka does not make up for the lack of translations, which Preisigke also did not include. This is a pity, as many users (e.g., Greek papyrologists) will not be familiar enough with the language of Coptic documentary texts to follow untranslated texts. In a parallel series of volumes concerned with Egyptian Demotic texts published in journals and collected volumes. by Sven Vleeming, he gives translations, often based on his own revisions, and his volumes of Short Texts come with annotation beyond the apparatus criticus and even illustrations (hand copies). Hasitzka has restricted her own contribution to occasional corrections flagged in the apparatus.

The Demotic Short Texts also come with a Demotic Berichtigungsliste, modeled on another Greek tool initiated by Preisigke. Hasitzka’s Coptic Berichtigungsliste, which she provides at the back of her volumes, is inadequate. It does not integrate her own corrections to earlier volumes of KSB, which are listed separately, and it does not spell out the other corrections, which are not based on a systematic search for published corrections, such as Vleeming undertook in tandem with his collection of dispersed texts. The Berichtigungsliste at the back of this volume (pp. 236-253) is particularly unhelpful in that it flags that there is information about the inventory number of numerous ostraca, which are duly listed on pp. 239-248, but fails to reproduce those inventory numbers. Instead, we get references to an article that gives the inventory numbers in fewer pages, which could have been reproduced here in toto.

The over 200 texts republished by Hasitzka (nos. 2164-2377) are divided into the following categories: letters (mostly private; nos. 2164-2185), Urkunden (mostly private documents, such as leases; nos. 2186-2310), receipts (also many tax receipts; 2312-2328), orders (nos. 2329-2330), and lists (nos. 2331-2349), then inscriptions (nos. 2350-2354), followed by prayers (nos. 2355-2356) and school texts (nos. 2357-2377). Prayers are absent from the Greek Sammelbuch, but it makes sense to include the Coptic ones here for lack of other relevant corpora. One of them is very late and written on a piece of cloth (no. 2355).

The indices include one for Coptic words in the order in which they appear in Crum’s Coptic Dictionary. Hasitzka flags alternative spellings used in some texts. There is also a Greek index as well as an index of Arabic words (in Coptic spelling). The usual special indices follow: of personal names (Coptic and Greek mixed), other names (e.g., king Herod mentioned in a school text, no. 2358), toponyms, months, and symbols. Helpfully, there is also an index of subjects, which is rare in papyrological text editions. The indices take up a lot of space, but they are a vital part of any Sammelbuch, since they make it possible to explore the wealth of material included, and this is especially urgent in the Coptic Sammelbuch, because—in the absence of a “smart” search tool for Coptic texts—the only way to find attestations of a word in texts in different dialects (or in “off” orthography) is through indices. Incidentally, the Greek index lists ἀρχαῖον for ⲁⲣⲭⲁⲓⲟⲛ, which actually stands for ἀρχεῖον, “archive.” The Coptic spelling of this Greek word is always ⲁⲣⲭⲁⲓⲟⲛ, never ⲁⲣⲭⲉⲓⲟⲛ.

There is a concordance of publications, but also, less useful, of inventory numbers, Trismegistos numbers (new to this volume of KSB), dates, provenances, and editors. Texts first published in BASP come from volumes published between 2007 and 2016, roughly the years covered in the volume, with significant exceptions: there are quite a few leftovers from earlier publications, even from the venerable AJP, which published a Coptic (early Bohairic) letter in 1935, something that seems out of the question nowadays (the text is republished as no. 2167 here, but another re-edition, in a monograph, P.Mich.Copt. of 1942, which incorporates Walter Till’s corrections of 1938, makes the republication in KSB seem redundant).

A large number of texts come from a limited number of older publications, which Hasitzka had skipped thus far. P.Schutzbriefe, really a long article of 1938 in which Till (re-)edited and translated all safe-conducts known to him, is here republished in toto, with occasional corrections, under nos. 2226-2310 among the Urkunden. Hasitzka also includes other, more recently published safe-conducts. Note that she also republishes some of Till’s Schutzbriefe that were subsequently re-edited in monographs (e.g., no. 2300 = P.Bal. 188). The texts in two substantial publications by Leslie MacCoull are also included. These texts have never been adequately illustrated, and some are in need of more corrections than Hasitzka offers here. Images of some of these papyri, which are in the Pierpont Morgan Library, are not (yet) available online. The texts in a bilingual codex in the Beinecke Library were re-edited, the Greek texts by R. Duttenhöfer and K.A. Worp (SB XXIV 16189-16200), the Coptic texts by T.S. Richter (P.Poethke 34). Because the Coptic texts in the codex are of different types, they appear throughout the volume here, which is unfortunate. We are still waiting for a complete re-edition of the codex, with the Greek and Coptic texts in their proper place (as in the codex).

A few random comments on individual texts. In no. 2164, the first text in the volume, the editio princeps contains an error, which Hasitzka does not correct: the ostracon has the expected ⲙ̅ⲡⲛⲟⲩⲧⲉ with the article in line 9. Also note the Greek expression ταχὺ ταχύ in line 20, which is familiar from magical texts but appears more often in the archive from which this letter derives (e.g., O.Frange 120). At no. 2168 the name ⲕⲉⲣⲙⲁⲛⲏ is a variant of Γερμανός (more often ⲅⲉⲣⲙⲁⲛⲉ in Coptic), which is not flagged in the apparatus or the index of names. At the top of no. 2172, χμγ = 643, an isopsephism of θεὸς βοηθός (the apparatus refers to outdated discussions). No. 2184 republishes a re-edition of 2007 of an editio princeps of 2001. One would think that the antiquated readings of the 2001 edition, which are duly listed in the 2007 re-edition, do not have to be repeated here, but Hasitzka lists them all, and the same goes for many other texts, which makes for “heavy” apparatus, which are hard to read and where the essential information is hidden in a maze of antiquated information. This is especially the case with no. 2195, definitively re-edited in 1998, here republished with an apparatus that takes up a whole page and includes antiquated readings going all the way back to 1881. At nos. 2250-2251 Hasitzka republishes the same text in multiple stages. The text to refer to is no. 2251d, while no. 2251c gives the original, washed out text (nos. 2250 and 2251a and b are superfluous). In no. 2293 Hasitzka corrects the odd ⲁⲙⲫⲓⲁⲍ̣ⲉ (as if from ἀμφιάζω) to the expected ⲁⲙⲫⲓⲃⲁⲗⲉ (from ἀμφιβάλλω), and this is confirmed by the scan. Note that the scan referred to at no. 2317 is upside down. Interestingly, in no. 2319, the Greek says 2/3 of a nomismation where the Coptic gives two trimesia, which is the same thing. Also note that this text from the Sorbonne, edited separately in ZPE 195, is here immediately followed by other texts from the same archive at Michigan, edited in ZPE 201, which is helpful (except that two texts republished in ZPE 201 are here left out, because they already appear as KSB II 1016-1017). In no. 2341.x+13 Hasitzka’s apparatus gives σίγιστρον for ⲥ̣ⲓⲕ̣ . . . [, because she found the word listed in LSJ, but this must remain doubtful.

All in all, a worthy volume to mark the retirement of Hasitzka from a lifetime of service to Coptic papyrology. We should also be grateful to the Austrian National Library for their support over the years.