Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fun with a Coptic Papyrus!

I've read the news articles on this supposed fragment of the "Gospel of Jesus' Wife" that Dr. Karen King of Harvard Divinity School has unveiled. I finally got around to reading the article in question. I understand that this article is a draft, but I would suggest that when publishing an enormously controversial article that challenges core doctrines of a major world religion, one should take the trouble to proof read even the draft article before publicly releasing it.

Some gems in this text:

(p. 2) The papyrus currently belongs to a private collector.3 Assuming it authenticity for the moment, its language (Sahidic Coptic) as well as the conditions for the preservation of organic material indicate that it was found in Egypt.

(p. 3) As a first step, King, who is neither a papyrologist nor a Coptic linguist, sought expert advice regarding the authenticity and date of the fragment. 
(You are aware that the news is reporting you as a specialist in Coptic literature, right? Real specialists of a literature read the original language.)

(p. 9) The handwriting on our papyrus appears to identical on recto and verso, which may indicate that the page belonged to a codex.

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And now, the real kicker.

(p. 18) Its function is unclear. It may be the upward stroke of an upsilon, but that is unlikely given it’s shape.
I know this is just an extraordinarily difficult grammatical point to incorporate into your writing, but it's is always and only a contraction of "it is."

Here is where I stop reading.