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A Concise Coptic-English Lexicon: Second Edition (Dissertation series ; no. 13) [Paperback]

By Richard Smith (Author)
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Pages   80
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 6.38" Height: 0.26"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 1999
Publisher   Society of Biblical Literature
ISBN  0884140393  
EAN  9780884140399  

Availability  0 units.

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A Concise Coptic-English Lexicon: Second Edition (Dissertation series ; no. 13) by Richard Smith

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A handy, practical Coptic resource  Apr 3, 2008
I have found this Coptic dictionary to be very useful in many ways. It is handy, practical, and reasonably thorough for its size. And easier on the eyes than Crum's thanks to a more modern typeface.
A very useful tool  Aug 10, 2007
As the other reviewers have said, this is no replacement for Crum's Coptic Dictionary, but it has a number of great features, one being that you can carry it with you wherever you go. I like the fact that it uses the same style of Coptic font that modern Sahidic Coptic texts use. I also like the fact that, unlike Lambdin's grammar, it uses Coptic alphabetical order, which often makes finding words easier. It also apparently includes words that are not found in Crum because they only came to light in the Nag Hammadi library, which wasn't found until after the last edition of Crum was printed. I say "apparently" because I haven't yet found any such words, but I haven't gone looking, either. It's certainly adequate for the beginner Coptic student and useful for the scholar who is simply trying to get the gist of a piece of Coptic. Crum is obviously better for finer nuances. Definitely worth the money.
Excellent for its size  Feb 12, 2007
This Lexicon is certainly quite concise, as its title asserts - it would not be the volume one would wish to have in one's home library. However, it is excellent for taking to class in order to look up words on the go. It is certainly much easier to carry Smith's Concise Lexicon than Crum's dictionary!
A very serviceable glossary  Jan 3, 2007
Richard Smith did the world of Coptic studies a great service when he compiled his short lexicon. It has every word you are likely to encounter in an introductory Coptic course and it is MUCH easier to use than W. E. Crum's enormous tome (ISBN 159752333X - but every serious Coptic student must have this in any case). Smith has a number of cross-references for irregular forms that Crum lacks. Thomas Lambdin's introductory text (ISBN 0865540489) has by far the best listing of irregular forms, but Smith is useful enough for most purposes. I have only felt it necessary to write two irregular forms in my own copy: (1) Osh (omicron shai) is a variant of ashai (alpha shai alpha iota-with-trema), and (2) Tenou (tau epsilon nu omicron upsilon) 'now' (see ounou). These are forms that you cannot readily locate by just looking for the usual triconsonantal root.

One defect shared by both Smith and Crum is that they scrupulously avoid listing any Greek loans, of which Coptic has many, regardless of whether the Greek word is used in Coptic as in Classical or Koine. A case that came up during my introductory course in the fall was "helleen" (hori epsilon lambda lambda eta nu). One might suppose that this meant 'Hellene', i.e., 'Greek'. However, in the context in which it occurred and in Coptic generally, according to my professor, the meaning is actually 'pagan', i.e., non-Christian. You can find this meaning in the glossary of Coptic Greek at the end of Bentley Layton's magnificent reference grammar (ISBN 3447048336). Lambdin also has a brief glossary of Coptic Greek, though like Layton's, the vocabulary only covers the passages in his chrestomathy.

So far, the best aid I am aware of for this gap in Coptic lexicography is Hans Forster's Coptic-German "Worterbuch Der Griechischen Worter in Den Koptischen Dokumentarischen Texten" (Dictionary of the Greek Words in the Coptic Documentary Texts) (ISBN 3110174030; this site has the best price I can find in the U.S., but at $277.20, it is a work that most students will only consult in a library). This does a very thorough job of giving the variant spellings and the meanings of a vast quantity of Greek words, though it only covers documentary texts (commercial and administrative documents) and not literary documents (such as Scripture and theological writings).

After this, you have to go to Liddell & Scott's tome (ISBN 0198642261) and hope you can glean the intended sense from the sometimes lengthy list of senses given. A difficult case in point came up with the word "schema" (sigma chi eta mu alpha). It happens that a very frequent meaning found in Coptic is 'monk's habit'. You can find this in Lambdin, but in Liddell & Scott you have to look down a long list of meanings, and even then the closest you will come is 4. b. "dress, equipment".

In conclusion, if you plan to study Sahidic Coptic, be sure to get this little volume. You may be able to wait to consult Crum in a library, but you will definitely want Smith at home, in your backpack and at your desk in class.

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