Department of Ancient History - Coptic Studies at MQ

Research in Coptic Studies and related fields at Macquarie University

coptic-alphaResearch in Coptic Studies includes the history, culture, religions, and languages of Late Antique, Byzantine, and Early Islamic Egypt. Macquarie University hosts a number of ongoing research projects in these fields. In addition to research projects headed by the Coptic Studies staff, Heike Behlmer and Malcolm Choat, there are projects based within the Ancient History Documentary Resarch Centre on Graeco-Roman Egypt and Early Christianity which have closely allied interests and aims to those of Coptic Studies.

Research Projects in Coptic Studies at Macquarie include:

  • Religious authority and linguistic change in late antique Egypt:An ARC-funded project (2006-2008) led by Malcolm Choat investigating the rise of monasticism in third to fifth century CE Egypt, primarily in Greek and Coptic documentary papyri.
  • Communication Networks in Late Byzantine and Early Islamic monastic communities: a collaborative project by Heike Behlmer and Malcolm Choat, which analyses the letters on ostraca sent between monasteries in the Theban region, especially the monastery of Epiphanius, the monastery of Severus (Sheikh Abd el-Qurna) and the Deir el-Bakhit and satellite monastic cells in tombs in the Dra' Abu el-Naga.
  • The two foregoing projects form part of 'Language, Script, and Acculturation in Graeco-Roman Egypt', an umbrella research program lead by Drs Malcolm Choat and Trevor Evans (Ancient History, Macquarie University), uniting projects focusing on cultural interaction of the Classical and Egyptian worlds in the Graeco-Roman period.
  • As part of the project on 'Communication Networks', Heike Behlmer and Malcolm Choat are editing the Coptic papyri and ostraca found by Macquarie excavations led by Boyo Ockinga at the Dra' Abu el-Naga, and Heike Behlmer is editing texts found by several European excavations in the Theban region.
  • Heike Behlmer is part of an international team (led by Stephen Emmel, University of Münster, Germany) preparing a complete edition of the works of the abbot Shenoute.
  • A New Edition of the archive of Apa Johannes: Malcolm Choat is preparing a new edition of the most extensive bilingual (Greek and Coptic) fourth century CE monastic archive on papyrus.
  • An edition of the Coptic papyri in Macquarie University's Museum of Ancient Cultures by Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner (Studies in Religion, University of Sydney), beginning with a Magical Codex on parchment.
  • Heike Behlmer is studying the development of Coptic Studies in the 19th century on the basis of archival material in the Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts in Göttingen University Library
  • Papyri from the Rise of Christianity in Egypt: A team of Macquarie reserchers including Dr Malcolm Choat is collecting the documents and literary texts on papyrus (including ostraca, parchment etc.) which illustrate the spread of Christiannity in Egypt down to 325 CE

Postgraduate Research in Coptic Studies.

The following theses are in progress in Coptic Studies at Macquarie:

  • Mathew Almond: Gnostic Technical Vocabulary in the Nag Hammadi Codices

For opportunities in Post-Graduate Research in Coptic Studies at Macquarie, see the Degrees page