SEMINAR – HYBRID EVENT: The Fayyūm, Its Dialects, and Its Literature

  • Datum: –16.00
  • Plats: SCAS SCAS, Linnéanum, Thunbergssalen, Thunbergsvägen 2 Uppsala
  • Föreläsare: 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
  • Webbsida
  • Arrangör: Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
  • Kontaktperson: Klas Holm
  • Seminarium

Ivan Miroshnikov, SCAS och Russian Academy of Sciences, talar på temat "The Fayyūm, Its Dialects, and Its Literature". Seminariet hålls på engelska och följs av en frågestund.


In this seminar, I would like to take you to the Fayyūm. One of the poorest regions of today’s
Egypt, in its heyday it was a leading center of monasticism and, consequently, manuscript production. Since I have just come back from a research trip to the Fayyūm, it seems appropriate to start with a short report on my findings. I will thus introduce you to a beautiful papyrus codex discovered in 1987 at the ancient site of Narmoute, which I autoptically examined at Ali Radwan museum storage in Kom Aushim. The extant fragments of the codex bear witness to an erotapokrisis (a series of questions and answers), which is otherwise attested in a single Coptic manuscript, and an otherwise unattested but fascinating text on the relationship between the body and the soul.

I will then proceed to an overview of the languages used in the Fayyūm in the first millennium of the Common Era. I will put a special emphasis on the various Coptic dialects that were present in the region—from poorly attested and obscure (e.g., the so-called “dialect K”) to those that played the dominant role in Coptic manuscript production (i.e., Sahidic, classical Fayyūmic, and medieval Bohairic). I will also discuss the most important sites of the region, including Toutōn (whose scriptorium produced numerous manuscripts for the famous White Monastery in Upper Egypt), and Phantoou (where a large group of parchment codices was discovered in 1910).

Finally, I will draw you a picture of the literature that came down to us in the indigenous dialect of the region—viz., Fayyūmic. I will start with the Fayyūmic Bible, whose origin remains largely unexplored. As I am going to demonstrate, the time has come to retire the views on the relationship between the Bohairic and Fayyūmic Bibles expressed by the prominent Coptologists of the past (Paul E. Kahle and H. J. Polotsky) and to search for more complex and viable solutions. I will then survey the other extant texts translated into Fayyūmic (from Greek, from Sahidic, or from Greek via Sahidic). I will conclude this talk with a discussion of the motley crew of texts that may have been originally composed in Fayyūmic.

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