Learning Coptic? Here Are The Best Books You Should Have

avatarSarah K. β€’
3 mins read
best books to learn Coptic

Are you looking for the best books to learn to speak and read Coptic (Egyptian)?

Coptic is a truly beautiful language to learn and the authentic, historical language of the Egyptian people. It's still used in the Coptic Orthodox Church. Although Arabic is the official language of Egypt today, Coptic is the descendent of the language of the pharaohs.

Thankfully there are some excellent books available for learning Coptic! 😊

Today I’m going to share with you my favorite books for learning Coptic (ones I love).

Be sure to let me know if there’s a resource I've missed or something I really should know about so I can update my list.

1. Coptic: A Grammar of Its Six Major Dialects (Languages of the Ancient Near East Didactica)

Author: James P. Allen

This one's a must! 😍

The author, James P. Allen, has gone into great detail (it's quite a dense resource) and familiarizes you with Coptic's 6 major dialects (yes, Coptic actually has regional dialects, with Sahidic being the most well known).

It covers everything you'd expect in a good Coptic textbook in way that's easy to understand.

I highly recommend Allen's work to any serious student of Egyptian Coptic.

2. Introduction to Sahidic Coptic: A New Coptic Grammar

Author: Thomas O Lambdin

The main dialects of Coptic are Sahidic, Bohairic, Akhmimic, Fayyumic, Lycopolitan, and Oxyrhynchite.

This is a grammar for the Sahidic dialect.

Lambdin has done a stellar job putting this introductory grammar together (30 lessons in total and covers everything you need).

I would say that any serious Coptic learner should own a copy of this.

3. A Coptic Dictionary: (Ancient Language Resources) (English and Coptic Edition)

Author: Walter E. Crum

An essential dictionary for Coptic.

Walter Crum compiled this extensive dictionary in the 1930's and it's still the best dictionary in circulation.

An absolute must.

4. Coptic in 20 Lessons: Introduction to Sahidic Coptic With Exercises and Vocabularies

Author: Bentley Layton

This book is incredible, especially for students of theology (studying to be a Coptic priest).

I say this because the book teaches Coptic alongside the Greek from the New Testament (essential if you're doing Coptic liturgy).

For a theology student or seriously dedicated Coptic learner, this book is absolutely essential for your resource list.

Once again, this one covers Sahidic dialect.

Summary: There are some excellent books for learning Coptic

I could have added more Coptic books to this list but these are by far the best available.

Coptic is becoming increasingly popular and important in today's world, and many students are becoming more eager to travel to the vast areas of Africa where Coptic is an official language.

Which other Coptic books would you recommend?

Is there a useful book or resource for Coptic that I should add?

Let me know. :)