Searching for Scripture: Digital Tools for Detecting and Studying the Re-use of Biblical Texts in Coptic Literature

Document Type

Conference Presentation


Religious Studies

Conference Title

Society of Biblical Literature (SBL)


Baltimore, MD

Conference Dates

November 23-26, 2013

Date of Presentation



Some of our most important biblical manuscripts and extra-canonical early Christian literature survive in the Coptic language. Coptic writers are also some of our most important sources for early scriptural quotation and exegesis. This presentation will introduce the prototype for a new online platform for digital and computational research in Coptic, and demonstrate its potential for the detection and analysis of "text-reuse" (quotations from, citations and re-workings of, and allusions to prior texts). The prototype platform will include tools for formatting digital Coptic text as well as a digital corpus of select texts (most specifically the writings of Shenoute of Atripe, who is known for both his biblical citations and his biblical style of writing). It will allow searching for patterns of shared vocabulary with biblical texts as well as for grammatical and syntactical information useful for stylistic analyses. Both the potential uses and imitations of implicit methodologies will be discussed.

This document is currently not available here.