Friday, June 4, 2010

I Just Received a Copy of My Journal Article

I know that my excitement about the publication of my first article in the Journal of Coptic Studies must seem rather juvenile for professional scholars who read my blog.  But the closest thing I can liken it to is the difference between having sex with a woman the first time you meet her and then what it's like after you've been married for twenty years trying to make a baby.  In the former case copulation seems exhilaratingly clandestine; in the latter something akin to making license plates at the penitentiary.

In any event, the article doesn't go into too much detail about my/our transcription of the inscription along the front of the throne.  Professor Boid (formerly?) of Monash University was the real brains behind the effort to make sense of it.  I just tagged along for the credit in an article that hasn't yet been published.

The truth is that I have been thinking about the two letters on the left hand side of the inscription (reading left to right) - viz. alef shin - all week.  Boid and I have long since established that these two letters were drawn with considerably more detail than the letters in the rest (which seem by contrast rather rushed and sloppy).  I have been doing a lot of work with Jewish coins lately and I have started to wonder whether (reading right to left) the letters simply mean what they would if they were on a coin - namely 'year one.'

We had the same idea originally in a slightly different form. I also still think there were two stages to the chiseling.  In the beginning, there was just this notice that said 'year one.'  Then in a later period the inscription was changed, developed now according to 'mirror letters' (i.e. characters which are meant to be read as if seen as a reflection in a mirror) which all studies, including our own, have rendered as something like 'the seat of Mark, evangelist of Alexandria.'

Just compare the letter on the leftmost side of the picture to the rightmost side of the picture.  In all studies these are supposed to be 'mems.'  The difference in the quality of execution is obvious.

In any event I am starting to think that all it is saying is that this was the beginning of a new era and possibly also a reinforcement of the Jubilee year which is reflected in all the rest of imagery of the throne.

Anyway, it encourages me to rework and attempt to publish again the study of the iconography on the throne ...

Email with comments or questions.

Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.