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Research mission to Montserrat and Barcelona

Between 1 and 5 October, 2018, Frank Feder and I made a research trip to Montserrat and Barcelona. Our aim was to prepare a complete inventory list of the Coptic manuscripts kept there, since both collections are relatively poorly known. At the same time, we hoped to find new fragments of the Sahidic Old Testament for our project.

Our first stop was at the Montserrat Abbey, home of a large collection of Greek, Latin, and Coptic manuscripts which belonged to Fr. Ramon Roca-Puig.

We were told that Roca-Puig was able to buy most of the valuable manuscripts he possessed with money raised from rich Catalan families. Unfortunately, only a tiny portion of the Coptic fragments has been published. Some years ago, I identified among the unedited Sahidic manuscripts in Montserrat two fragments on the book of Numbers and one Isaiah fragment. During our visit, Frank and I had the possibility to photograph and examine them more closely. Furthermore, we found a new fragment containing portions of Psalms 36-37 (LXX). Finally, we photographed numerous other potentially interesting fragments, some of which may be biblical. We will carefully check these in the following weeks.


After we finished our work at Montserrat, we travelled to Barcelona, in order to study the Palau Ribes manuscripts. This collection was formed by the Jesuit priest José O’Callaghan, with the help of Catholic monks residing in Cairo. Among Coptologists, the Palau Ribes collection is well known for housing the famous Sahidic codex containing the gospels of Mark, Luke, and John (PPalau Rib. Inv.-Nr. 181-183). Nevertheless, we were surprised to find out that they have hundreds of other Coptic fragments, especially Sahidic ones. We identified several new biblical fragments, including fragments of Proverbs, Psalms, and Job.


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