top of page

Coptic Bible, The Gospel of John, 1880


This palm-sized nineteenth century Coptic Bible, The Gospel of John, from Ge’ez, Ethiopia, is extremely rare, and it is written in Ge’ez calligraphy, a sacred or liturgical language. Ge’ez is used mainly in religious contexts in modern times. It is classified as a South Semitic language, evolved from the ancient Ge’ez people who used to compose the royal inscriptions of the kingdom of Damot (a medieval kingdom located in western Ethiopia) that existed between the 10th and 15th century B.C.


In Coptic pictures, the figures of Christ and saints often display heads, eyes, and ears much larger in proportion to other facial features, and their mouths are usually small, all resembling the Fayum mummy portraits. This Coptic Bible contains seven full-page illuminations and one of half a page.


This Coptic Bible contains seven brightly colored pages:

Annunciation of the Incarnation by the Angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary;

The Nativity of Jesus of Nazareth;

The Virgin Hodegetria Holding the Baby Jesus Blessed by Two Saints;

St. George on White Horse Slaying a Dragon;

Two Witnesses in the Book of Revelation: Enoch and Elijah;

Christ Blessing St. Paul; Evangelista with Coptic Knots; and

A Priest with a Coptic Cross Holding a Religious scripture.


This Coptic Bible, with a vellum sheet size of 110 x 75 mm, is coeval leather-bound, with embossed decoration, hand-stitched on wooden slats. The text is written in one column, 15 lines in regular margins. Coptic Bible is in fine condition, an exceptional, well-kept title for collectors.


Click on these links to see other items related to the Coptic:

Coptic Museum | Phoenix Books

Eighteenth-Century Ethiopian Coptic Bible | Phoenix Books


Coptic Bible, The Gospel of John, 1880

    bottom of page