Friday, July 3, 2015
The Gospel Of Judas: Why It Looks Like A Greek Manuscript
The Roman province of Aegyptus was established a little over twenty years before the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. It became one of the Empire's largest and financially lucrative provinces, remaining under its control (despite revolts and problems) until it was finally conquered by the Muslims in the seventh century. But the introduction of Greek culture and its language precedes the establishment of said province. Alexander invaded Egypt close to 300 years before the province was established, when he was fighting Darius III. In fact, he spent nearly six months in southern Egypt (332 B.C.). Those events set into motion what would later culminate in the creation of an Egyptian script utilizing the Greek alphabet.
To form the Coptic language, you take all of the Greek alphabet and add a handful of letters from Egyptian script. Some of the Greek letters did not correspond to sounds in Egyptian speech, but they were retained nonetheless. They added the Egyptian letters in order to supplement the Greek with phonemes closer to their own. The number one reason the Gospel of Judas looks so much like a Greek manuscript is because of the alphabetic similarities between Coptic and Greek. Though they look similar, Coptic is a totally different language.