Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the importance of Coptic linguistics and Coptic papyrology in the field of early Christian studies and the studies of the Christian East has been increasing. The reason is not far to seek: it is in the various dialects of the Coptic language that the copious amount of sources for the history of Christianity, from its nascent years till the late mediaeval times, is preserved.
The goal of the project “Publication of the Coptic Manuscripts of the Ilves Collection” is to conserve, catalogue, edit, and publish Coptic manuscripts from a private collection, the Ilves collection, housed in Helsinki, Finland. The Coptic manuscripts bear more than two hundred inventory numbers assigned to them by the present owner, and they range from small, but often very intriguing fragments of papyrus to complete and voluminous, although admittedly quite late, paper codices.
The importance of the project lies in making the manuscripts of the collection accessible to the public, following the principle that “a manuscript available to one scholar is available to all” (see James M. Robinson, “The Jung Codex: The Rise and Fall of a Monopoly,” Religious Studies Review 3 : 29). The research period funded by the Academy of Finland is 01.09.2016–31.08.2020.