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THE GREAT CLAREMONT COPTIC ENCYCLOPEDIA الإنسيكلوبيديا القبطية الإلكترونية ; مشروع جامعة كليرمونت الأمريكية

January 6, 2012

Atiya, Aziz Suryal, The Coptic Encyclopedia (New York City; Macmillan Publishers; 1991)

In 1991 The Coptic Encycopedia was published by Macmillan. This work was edited by the great historian and Coptologist, Aziz S. Atiya, distinguished Professor of History at the University of Utah. It was made possible by the contribution of over 200 scholars. Published in eight volumes, it included over 2800 entries on “Coptic language and literature; Copto-Arabic literature; Coptic art, architecture, archaeology, history, music, liturgy, theology, spirituality, monasticism; and biblical, apocryphal, social, and legal texts.”[i] Since then, the monumental work has become an invaluable reference tool in the hands of researchers in Coptic studies.

But Macmillan priced it out of the reach of most readers. Its formidable price made it accessible only to researchers at some university and national libraries, such as Harvard University, Oxford University and the British Library. To use it for reference many had to travel long distances to one of these libraries which was time consuming and expensive. It was, therefore, great news to many when in 2009 researchers and those interested in Coptic studies were told that the Claremont Graduate University (CGU) School of Religion would digitalise The Coptic Encyclopedia and make it freely accessible to all at the click of the mouse. The CGU had acquired the right to develop an updated and continuously expanding and evolving web-based version of it.

The result of the effort is now available for all internet users free as the Claremont Coptic Encyclopedia (CCE). Many of you knew this already, but for those of you who didn’t know, here is the link to THE Claremont Coptic ENCYCLOPEDIA where you can browse items in the collection:

As the project’s website says, “The Coptic civilization is one of the most ancient civilizations still in existence, and has vibrant manifestations in Egypt and around the world.  Various aspects of Western civilization have their roots in, or are influenced by Coptic civilization and Egyptian Christianity.” The Coptic civilisation belongs to all humanity; and those of you who would like this project to continue, whether you are a Copt or non-Copt, please try to donate to the project to help it continue to exist.


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