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Coptic Papyrology


Admission requirements

A basic knowledge of the grammar of Sahidic Coptic and its vocabulary.


Coptic documentary (non-literary) texts, such as letters and official deeds, are important sources for the history of late antique and early Islamic Egypt. Particularly when they are linked to a specific urban or monastic site, they offer glimpses of social life at a local or regional level. Although many of these sources are written on papyrus, texts written on ostraca (pottery fragments, limestone flakes), wood or leather are also included in the term “papyrology”, since their contents are often similar. During this course, the student will read and study original documentary texts from photographs and learn to edit such sources according to the standards current in Coptic papyrology.

Course objectives

By acquiring a good working knowledge of non-literary Coptic, basic skills in editing Coptic texts according to the present standards in Coptic papyrology and knowledge to situate these sources in their historical and cultural context, the student will learn how to edit a text.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Assessment method

  • Class paper (40%)

  • Written paper (60%) on one or more Coptic papyri

The requirements for MA and ResMA students are differentiated: ResMA students are expected to come up with their own original research topic, find literature, and write a scholarly report; MA students may expect more help in choosing their topic and their papers may consist of an assessment of the status quaestionis on a given question.


The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the written paper is to be revised after consultation with the teacher.

Exam review

Students will be invited to discuss their papers individually with the teacher, as soon as the results have been published.

Reading list

To be announced in class.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about registration in uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Exchange and Study Abroad students: please see the Study Abroad/Exchange website for information on how to register.


Dr. R.E.L. Dekker.