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Artefact ID507
TM IDTM 61982
Findspot (DEChriM ID)28   (al-Bahnasā)
Writing mediumSheet/roll
Text contentSubliterary
LanguageGreek, Coptic

JEA 11 (1925): 241-246 + P.Rain.UnterrichtKopt. 257a

A Greek-Coptic glossary on Hosea (2-8) and Amos (2).

The glossary has been written on the verso of a repurposed papyrus sheet containing a Greek land register (CdE 91 (2016): 175-179; late 2nd c., Oxyrhynchus).

The 4 fragments preserve 3 columns of the Christian Glossary. The scribe appears to have picked out difficult words and phrases from Hosea and Amos, to then give a keyword/phrase (as short excerpts or even abbreviations) in Greek together with a full Coptic translation. The Coptic translations are separated from the Greek head-words by a dicolon.

The ed. pr. suggest that the text could have been part of a complete glossary to the Minor Prophets. Its use might have been liturgical; see VanHaelst 1976: 107.

Fragment A: excerpts from Hosea 2.8-13 (Greek and Coptic) and 3.5 - 4.7 (Greek only; note the use of θεῷ instead of the established κυρίῳ in Hos. 4.1).

Fragment B: excerpts from Hosea 4.8-11 (Coptic ends of lines) and 7.14 - 8.1 (Greek and Coptic).

Fragment C: excerpts from Hosea 8.14 - 9.6 (Greek and Coptic).

Fragment D: excerpt from Amos 2.8 - 15 (Coptic only).  

The hand on the recto is described as a right-sloping, elegant, cursive script. The cursive hand of the glossary has a Greek impression, see ed. pr.

The Coptic text is of particular interest, as it is written in the Middle Egyptian (Mesokemic) dialect. Its early date (3/4th c.) makes the Greek/Coptic glossary contemporaneous with (or earlier than) the oldest existing Coptic biblical texts; see Clackson 2016: 338.

Selection criteriaLiterary genre (Biblical), Subliterary genre (Liturgical), Coptic language
Date from250
Date to350
Dating criteria

Palaeography. The prosopography and palaeographical data of the original text on the recto (the land registry) gives a terminus post quem in the end of the 2nd c. for the more recent text of the verso. The glossary is dated to late 3rd (by the and as late as the 4th c. by Arthur Hunt in a letter to the ed. pr.

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Acquired in 1924 by the British Museum from an unspecified dealer; see ed. pr. The prosopography of the land registry as well as the Mesokemic dialect of the Coptic of the glossary, indicate a provenance in Oxyrhynchus or the immediate area; see Benaissa 2016.


Accession number

London, British Museum, EA 10825 Vo.


Reference edition:

∙ Hasitzka, Monika R. M., ed. 1990. Neue Texte und Dokumentation zum Koptisch-Unterricht. MPER N.S. XVIII. Vienna. 1990, no. 257a.

Editio princeps:

∙ Bell, Harold Idris and Herbert Thompson. 1925. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 11. 241-246 and plates no. 31-34. 

Additional bibliography:

∙ Benaissa, Amin. 2016. "The provenance of the Greek-Coptic glossary to Hosea and Amos". Chronique d'Égypte 91, 175-179.

Clackson, Sarah. 2016. "Coptic Oxyrhynchus". Oxyrhynchus. A city and its texts.  A. K. Bowman, R. A. Coles, N. Gonis and P. J. Parsons, eds. London, 338.

∙ Rahlfs, Alfred and Detlef Fraenkel. 2004 (1914). Verzeichnis der griechischen Handschriften des Alten Testaments. Göttingen. 221, descr. no. 829.

∙ van Haelst, Joseph. 1976. Catalogue des papyrus littéraires juifs et chrétiens. Paris, descr. no. 286.

Sofia Heim, 2021
Suggested citation
Sofia Heim, 2021, "Artefact ID 507", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,