A Quick COMPARISON OF THE WELLS'
PUBLICATIONS, and Other Coptic texts, including
Mr. Dykes' PDF files
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The font - COPTIC44.ttf - is needed for this page, download
it here: Coptic44.ttf
copyright © 2007, Mr. Gary S. Dykes
Students and scholars need a proper text with which to work with. J. W. Wells has attempted to begin to provide scholars with just such a "standardized" text. Yet, it has some severe problems at this stage. Below is a sample page of the published edition: [low resolution]
The above is from the improved second edition of Wells' Bohairic Coptic New Testament, published with Tigran Aivazian, current selling price for the hardcover edition is: $33.43
As you can see it uses all upper case fonts, it is on bright white paper and the text is dark black ink. All of these factors cause eye strain! The text is not very easy to read, and the font is very artifical when compared with actual MS scripts! The leading is also too tight, no room for notes, and the text appears jammed tight. So it is not enjoyable to read, and lacks any room for interlinear notes.
Critics, and those examining this text need space to add notes and other readings. The font used is "cbcoptic" and it is an unfortunate choice. But the problems are just beginning to appear: note the image below:
Here in Matthew chapter 2, I have underlined some portions of his Bohairic text. Most are of prepositions, prepositions joined to their objects. Unlike his work on the Sahidic text, Mr. Wells has not simplified this text above. Note too, the genitive type particle nte it serves to add the sematic value of "of" in the phrase "in the days of Herod". However, in Coptic the very same particle also serves as the prefixed verbal form of the conjunctive. We see such a word with the green underline. Here no genitive function is meant, rather it is translated as: "and (to) worship".
The Takla text, and most other Bohairic texts, will properly distinguish this particle/prefix by separating it from its counterpart WHEN the genitive/possessive function is meant. The verbal prefix form should remain properly prefixed to its verb, but not the genitive form! This standardization would help make the text easier to read and truly more standardized! Keep in mind, that the Takla version also has a few minor errors.
Wells declares the above text to be standardized, and is the second edition, incorporating many improvements. Certainly the text of Takla's work is much easier to use. It is hoped that future editions of Wells/Aivazian show more respect for the needs of users, readers and scholars.
Below is a low resolution sample from the PDF file of the Wells-Bohairic which Mr. Dykes has modified, it and the PDF Sahidic New Testaments are freely available in PDF format, here [ go to Dykes' Coptic files]:
The PDF file is much sharper, but the above sample shows that there is added space for notes, and the verses are easy to locate. Leading is vastly improved, spaces between words have been increased, and the user can print the file on ivory stock. Yet even better, Mr. Dykes will make available to any students who request it (my email is:
...... I will make available a Word 2000 or Framemaker 6, file of the Sahidic or Bohairic texts, which include my font with numerous extra glyphs for adding an apparatus and notes. With such a file, you can edit and add notes, and reformat to your hearts desire. You can add readings from actual manuscripts; you can properly separate words which need separating, you can add supralinear strokes, tremas, and highlight quotes, you can add an interlinear translation or Greek text, and most importantly YOU can assist with the effort to produce a truly standardized text!
LOGOS Bible Software, has produced a version of the Wells Sahidica text. Here is a low resolution sample below: [note the original electronic text is much sharper] - This version is not cheap, it is expensive.
The font is easier to read than Wells/Aivazian, and the verses are set off. This is the end result of Wells work, this is the version of Sahidica which Wells claims is standardized. In this LOGOS version, the word spacing is too tight! And the leading is also too tight. There are several formats which LOGOS presents on their new Coptic Sahidica CD, this is the best format, the others are worse. The purchaser can only view, print and search the text. Included is a Sahidic dictionary, and other items on the CD.
Note the arrow in the above image. In most published texts, the letter "M" should be a "N". Since a syllabic element follows the word. (If a non-syllabic element followed, then a change to "M" would be proper). It reads "in the presence of/with the God", our "the" is the syllabic "p-". However, this may not be an error if Wells is following a MS exemplar. Still, a standardized form would not have the "M", so we see the need for improvement here as well. Again Takla's text is recommended.
In the image below, of Wells standardized Bohairic text (second edition), let us again view a sample page from Matthew: Matthew 2:15, 16
The two highlighted words are errors. Though hard to read, they are respectfully: 4ah and e4en. The correct readings are: 41ah and et1en respectfully. I am aware that Wells has said that this work is a work in progress, but if so, why proclaim this second edition of their Bohairic as standardized, and improved? Why charge money for a poorly printed BETA effort?