29424 - Seminars (1) (LM) (G. E)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the seminars, students will acquire competences in interpreting specific topics related to philology, literature and history, or necessary to the creation and improvement of their background.

Course contents

The Woman Who Kissed Jesus? Mary of Magdala in Three Writings from Nag Hammadi.

A repenting prostitute, the beloved disciple of Jesus, his lover, mate or even wife and mother of his children, Mary of Magdala has never ceased to inspire stories. In a first moment, the seminar will provide students with basic knowledge of the Coptic language and literature (20 hours). The last 10 hours of the course will be then devoted to analyze in a strictly philological, literary, and historical perspective the re-figurations of the Magdalene in three Coptic texts, the Gospel according to Thomas, the Gospel according to Philip, and the very Gospel circulating under her own name, the Gospel according to Mary, whose 'original' Greek text is transmitted by two papyrus fragments.


Selected bibliography (it is given here just as an orientation tool for researches in the field; it is not meant as an actual exam bibliography)

1. Grammars

T.O. Lambdin, Introduction to Sahidic Coptic, Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia 2000

B. Layton, Coptic in 20 Lessons. Introduction to Sahidic Coptic with Exercises and Vocabularies, Peeters, Leuven / Paris / Dudley 2007

A Coptic Grammar (Porta Linguarum Orientalium), Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden 2004

T. Orlandi, Elementi di grammatica copto-saidica, Roma 1983

U.-K. Plisch, Einführung in die koptische Sprache: Sahidischer Dialekt, Reichert, Wiesbaden 1999

A. Shisha-Halevy, Coptic Grammatical Chrestomathy. A Course for Academic and Private Study (OLA 30), Peeters, Leuven 1988

2. Dictionaries, lexica and grammatical tools

Bohairic-English Dictionary, downloadable for free at http://coptic-treasures.com.

J. Černý, Coptic Etymological Dictionary, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2010

W.E. Crum – J. McConkey Robinson, A Coptic Dictionary, Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 2005

B. Layton, Coptic Gnostic Chrestomathy. A Selection of Coptic Texts with Grammatical Analysis and Vocabulary, Peeters, Leuven / Paris / Dudley 2004

R. Smith, A Concise Coptic-English Lexicon, Scholars Press, Atlanta, Georgia 1999

3. Varia

R.S. Bagnall, Early Christian Books in Egypt, Princeton University Press, Princeton – Oxford 2009

M. Betrò, La riflessione religiosa nell’Egitto tardo e il ruolo dei templi nella sua formazione e diffusione, in Origeniana Octava. Origene e la tradizione alessandrina. Papers of the 8th International Origen Congress. Pisa 27-31 August 2001, a c. di L. Perrone, vol. I, Peeters, Leuven 2003, 3-12

P. Buzi, La letteratura egiziana antica. Opere, generi, contesti, Carocci, Roma 2020

La chiesa copta. Egitto e Nubia, Edizioni Studio Domenicano, Bologna 22014

A. Camplani, Momenti di interazione religiosa ad Alessandria e la nascita dell’élite egiziana cristiana, in Origeniana Octava, cit., 31-42

A proposito della pluralità linguistica nelle comunità cristiane dell’Egitto preislamico, forthcoming in Vie quotidienne et pluralité des langues. Le plurilinguisme dans les chrétientés du Haut et Bas-Empire, Actes du Colloque du GSEP, 23 février 2008 (Cahiers du GSEP, 2), a c. di E. Norelli e G. Aragione, Éditions du Zèbre, Prahins

Christianity in Egypt: Literary Production and Intellectual Trends. Studies in Honor of Tito Orlandi, a c. di Paola Buzi e Alberto Camplani, Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, Roma 2011

L’Egitto cristiano. Aspetti e problemi in età tardo-antica, a c. di A. Camplani, Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, Roma 1997

D. Frankfurter, Religion in Roman Egypt. Assimilation and Resistance, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1998

Greek Influence on Egyptian Coptic: Contact-Induced Change in an Ancient African Language, ed. by E. Grossman, P. Dils, T.S. Richter, and W. Schenkel, Widmaier Verlag, Hamburg 2017

A. Loprieno, Ancient Egyptian. A Linguistic Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1995

E.O.D. Love, The Nature of Old Coptic I. Approaching & Contextualising Old Coptic (§ 1-4). Old Coptic at Oxyrhinchus (§ 5), Journal of Coptic Studies 23 (2021) 91-143

H. Lundhaug – L. Jenott, The Monastic Origins of the Nag Hammadi Codices, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2015

D. McBride, The Development of Coptic: Late-Pagan Language of Synthesis in Egypt, Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquity 19 (1989) 89-111

The Oxford Handbook of Roman Egypt, a c. di C. Riggs, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2012

G.G. Stroumsa, Alexandria and the Myth of Multiculturalism, in Origeniana Octava, cit., 23-29

J. van der Vliet, Coptic Documentary Papyri After the Arab Conquest, The Journal of Juristic Papyrology 43 (2013) 187-208.

http://paths.uniroma1.it/atlas, Archaeological Atlas of Coptic Literature, directed by P. Buzi

http://alinsuciu.com/, blog of A. Suciu

http://www.coptica.ch/, ed. by P. Cherix

http://www.cmcl.it/~orlandi/, homepage of prof. Tito Orlandi

http://tasbeha.org/ and http://www.alhan.org/downloadable collection of Coptic hymns


http://coptot.manuscriptroom.com/home, project of the digital edition of the Coptic Bible at the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen

4. Mary of Magdala through the centuries

E. Lupieri (a cura di), Una sposa per Gesù. Maria Maddalena tra antichità e postmoderno, Carocci, Roma 2017

E. Lupieri (a cura di), I mille volti della Maddalena. Saggi e studi, Carocci, Roma 2020

Teaching methods

Lectures and analysis of Coptic and Greek texts. Slides and videos will be shown. Students will be given the opportunity to actively participate in and offer their own contribution to the exegetical work on texts.

Assessment methods

The final written test aims to verify the grammatical and linguistic skills acquired during the lessons, and consists of a translation from Coptic of five sentences: two of them already analyzed during the lessons, the other three never read before. The test will be considered passed with the correct translation of at least three sentences.

Teaching tools

Computer and projector; bibliographic and electronic databases; fotocopies; texts and segments of texts in PDF format uploaded by the teacher as teaching materials (downloadable from https://iol.unibo.it).

Office hours

See the website of Daniele Tripaldi