Schenke on the Paleography and Orthography of Codex Schoyen


Schenke on the

Paleography and Orthography

of Codex Schøyen[1]



  1. Script Description
    1. Angular
    2. Upright standing (senkrecht stehenden)
    3. Old style
    4. Taller than wide
  2. Penmanship
    1. Consistent character spacing
    2. Not very thick lettering
    3. Slight curvature of straight strokes, giving slender effect
    4. Not without elegance
    5. Inconsistencies of print density

                                                              i.      Description

1.      Slighter or heavier distinctions

2.      Sometimes conspicuously thicker than typical handwriting

                                                            ii.      Analysis

1.      More than one copyist?

2.      Probably not

3.      Explanations for inconsistencies

a.       Despite deviation of print density, print is much the same

b.      Alteration of scribal tool

c.       Variable resistance of the papyrus sheets/sides

d.      Stronger or weaker scribal concentration

  1. Individual letters
    1.  , ϥ, and have conspicuous descending stroke
    2. Hori is relatively narrow, with final stroke fading away
    3. Schai

                                                              i.      A trademark peculiar to Codex Schøyen

                                                            ii.      Related more closely to Fayumic schai:  the bottom stroke of the omega portion is rather flat rather than in two upside down double arches

                                                          iii.      Unique to Codex Schøyen:  the final downward stroke is extended and curved back to the left a little further than the letter's middle, and then returned either in a straight angular stroke or in a looped stroke

  1. Non-textual ligatures
    1. at the end of the line gets a supralinear stroke (consistently?)
    2. Punctuation

                                                              i.      Apostrophe

                                                            ii.      Period, placed above the line or lower

                                                          iii.      Colon, once in duplicate

                                                          iv.      Diple [<] with a dash and space

    1. Space

                                                              i.      Most important structural element

                                                            ii.      Nearly omnipresent

                                                          iii.      Often unexpected

                                                          iv.      Preference for line endings

    1. Signal marks, etc., in fishbone pattern ( = Diples with a straight line going through them) as decorations of end title
    2. Supralinear strokes

                                                              i.      Over single or , sometimes with a single dot above them

                                                            ii.      Frequent but not obligatory

                                                          iii.      Isolated occurrences over vowels

    1. Trema:  over ,, and sometimes
  1. Orthography
    1. Inclusion of redundant

                                                              i.      With ⲛⲧⲉ and ϫⲉ

                                                            ii.      Speech facilitating

    1. Use of genitival forms of some Greek Nomina and some Eigennamen
    2. Haplography

                                                              i.      Spelling oddities due to Middle Egyptian specific orthography:  ⲟⲩ, ⲉⲓ/ⲓ ⲛ

                                                            ii.      Scribal misspellings:  not a few

1.      Numerous corrections

a.       Self-corrected

b.      Intralinears

                                                                                                                                      i.      Shaving

                                                                                                                                    ii.      Rubbing

                                                                                                                                  iii.      Not always obvious

c.       Before the line; over the line

d.      Marginal notes with additional indicators in text

                                                                                                                                      i.      Various forms of indicators

                                                                                                                                    ii.      The flattened with long tail

2.      Categories

a.       Omitted within a word

b.      Omission or inclusion of hori

c.       Confusion over the suffix

d.      Omission of articles

e.       Omission of especially at end of word

f.        Haplographic errors

g.      Omission of nota relationism

h.      Omission or prefixation of and and

i.        Omission of

j.        Problems with perfects

k.      Nonsensical errors

  1. Marginal notations, signs, ligatures (10 examples of mostly curious items, including nonsensical Greek and upside down writings)

[1] Schenke, Hans-Martin, Gen. Ed.  Das Mattháus-Evanelium im Mittelägyptischen Dialekt des Koptischen (Codex Schøyen).  Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection.  Vol. 1:  Coptic Papyri.  Oslo:  Hermes Publishing, 2001.  I have not double checked my translation of Schenke's German, and so this outline should not be cited for scholarly analysis.