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Kevin Rudd and George F. Kennan

If ever there was a time for Kevin Rudd to have a George F. Kennan moment it seems to be right about now and besides considerable differences of time and place perhaps a few similarities too are gleamed from Nicholas Thompson’s ‘Ideas Man: The legacy of George F. Kennan’. Kennan defined containment strategy in the ‘Long Telegram’ and article ‘X’ in 1947 and was Soviet analyst in the Foreign Service before becoming head of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff in the Truman administration and central in the Marshall Plan. Rudd was both Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister and speaks Chinese. He is also from out of town from neither Victoria or New south Wales and is a Christian who swears. Kennan’s words seem to suit Rudd’s predicament “Men- or at least such men as I- are no good unless they are driven, hounded, haunted, forced to spend every day as though it were the last they were to spemd on earth”. If the comparison is right for no other reason than the possibility of a new cold war in the face of global instability doesn’t the soap opera seem more like a tragedy and something that never should be and must be overcome?

Reference: Foreign Affairs Vol.91 Iss 1 2012 (US). Nicholas Thompson, ‘Ideas Man’ p.148.

My Bullet Journal Journey: The First Year

I like the summary of how the bullet journal was useful over the course of the year and the aspects such as diet, fitness and meal planning as well as work related ones.

Keeps Me Out Of Mischief!

1 year of bujo pub.jpg

A year.  365 days. 8700 hours. 525600 minutes. Millions of seconds. A whole year of using my bullet journal to keep myself and my family organised.  It’s made a massive difference in so many ways, but these are the main 8, in no particular order:

  1. My sanity – I’m managing an incredibly busy job, a home and a family.  No longer do I lie awake in the middle of the night wondering if I’ve remembered to get something out of the freezer for tea tomorrow or if I remembered to send off a vitally important piece of paperwork.  It’s done.  Yes things have been missed this year, but it’s normally the stuff that I’ve said ‘I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember that’.  No, I don’t.  Write it down, commit it to paper, complete the task, shade the box.
  2. My diet – As a family we now eat so much more…

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Additional Fragments from the Coptic Version of Ephrem Graecus

Alin Suciu

In a recent article, I presented two new Coptic fragments from pseudo-Ephrem.[1] They contain portions from the ascetical sermon De perfectione monachi (CPG 3971; Clavis coptica 0860). Some modern authors have mistakenly attributed this writingto Maximus the Confessor, but Peter van Deun rightly argues it as belonging in fact to pseudo-Ephrem.[2]

The new Coptic fragments come from a White Monastery codex which has not yet received the attention it deserves. This valuable manuscript contains the Sahidic version of the ascetic writings which are transmitted in Greek under the name of Ephrem the Syrian.[3] Enzo Lucchesi has found among the pseudo-Ephremian pieces a short work by Evagrius, On the Monastic Life (Rerum monachalium rationes = CPG 2441).[4] It is, however, very likely that this writing has been transmitted in Coptic under the name of Ephrem, since we have reasons to believe that codex was…

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Photographs of White Monastery Fragments on Gallica Website

Alin Suciu

It was a nice surprise to discover a few days ago that the National Library in Paris put up on the Gallica website photographs of some of the Sahidic parchment fragments in their possession. More precisely, they have uploaded until now good quality reproductions of BnF Copte 161(6), fol. 36-44. It’s not much yet but it’s a start.

I suspect that the fragments included in BnF Copte 161(6) were donated to the library in Paris by the papyrologist Seymour de Ricci. It appears that they came from the Monastery of Apa Shenoute (aka the White Monastery) in Upper Egypt.

As most of the fragment available at Gallica have not been identified until now, here are some hints that may be helpful:


fol. 36 = Life of Shenoute attributed to Besa (BHO 1074-1078; clavis coptica 0461). I identified this fragment in an article to be published in

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Coptica Update: New Article on Coptic Manuscript Fragment (H. Förster, ZAC 16 [2013])

Alin Suciu

The latest issue of the Zeitschrift für antikes Christentum features the article of Dr. Hans Förster (University of Vienna), “‘Siehe, Magier kamen aus dem Osten’: Eine Paraphrase der Magier-Perikope aus dem Matthäusevangelium (Mt 2,1-12).” If your university has a subscription to ZAC, you can read the article here.

Our colleague published a parchment fragment in the National Library in Vienna (call number: K 9118), which he believes to be unidentified.

K 9118v(source of the photo)

The abstract of the article says:

A Coptic paraphrasing of one of the Gospels from the White Monastery contains a narration based on the so-called magi pericope from the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 2:1-12). It focuses this story onto the fight between Herod, a worldly King, and Jesus as the “King of Heaven.” This strengthens the parallels between the magi pericope and the Passion. Herod is identified with Pontius Pilate, and the phrase:…

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More Coptic Fragments from an Encomium on the Apostles (Ps-Severian of Gabala, Encomium in XII apostolos)

Alin Suciu

In this post I drew attention to a Coptic encomium on the twelve apostles, attributed to Severian of Gabala (CPG 4281; clavis coptica 0331). Sever Voicu published, in the journal Apocrypha, an extensive and well-documented article concerning the apocryphal traditions related to the apostles, which appear in the encomium of Ps-Severian.[1]

The encomium on the twelve apostles is known to survive in the Sahidic dialect of Coptic (Recension A) and in Arabic (Recension B). The Arabic recension, preserved in two manuscripts, one in the Vatican and the other in the Coptic Museum in Cairo, is radically different from the Coptic version. The latter was edited and translated into English by Michael E. Foat after a Sahidic manuscript from the Monastery of the Archangel Michael, situated near Hamouli, in the Fayyum oasis.[2] In 2005, Davide Righi published a fresh edition of the Hamouli manuscript together with the editio…

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Bibliographies: Coptic Studies

Ancient World Open Bibliographies

The following have been added to the Zotero Group for Ancient World Open Bibliographies and the Ancient World Open Bibliographies Wiki.

Coptic Studies

First Millennium Bibliography [for Coptic Studies]
Heike Belmer, Seminar für Ägyptologie und Koptologie, University of Gottingen.
Updated 13 December 2011.
“An overview of Egyptian history and culture in the First Millennium CE.” This bibliography is not intended to be comprehensive, but to give a general orientation to the topic.

Selected Bibliography of the Coptic Language
Heike Belmer, Seminar für Ägyptologie und Koptologie, University of Gottingen.
Updated 13 December 2011.
“A bibliography of the Coptic language with a focus on the Sahidic dialect.”

Bibliography on Coptic Dialects
Heike Belmer, Seminar für Ägyptologie und Koptologie, University of Gottingen.
Updated 13 December 2011.
“A bibliography of the other regional forms of the Coptic language excluding Sahidic Coptic.”

Coptic Art and Archaeology Bibliography
Heike Belmer, Seminar…

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Nitria and Scetis: H. G. Evelyn White,The Monasteries of the Wadi ‘N Natrun

Alin Suciu

The valuable Syriac documents which came from the Monastery of the Virgin in the Wadi el-Natrun, are still labeled sometimes as “Nitrian.” Similarly, the dialect of the Coptic manuscripts from St. Macarius’ Monastery, situated in the same desert, is called “Nitrian Bohairic.” This label seems to imply that the two monasteries are located in the desert of Nitria.

However, neither the Monastery of the Syrians, nor that of St. Macarius is situated there! The assumption that Nitria and Wadi el-Natrun would be one and the same place is wrong, being based on a topographical confusion.

The ancient name of the Natron Valley, the source of the documents mentioned above, was “Scetis.” While the first community in Nitria goes back to Amoun, the founder of Scetis was Macarius the Egyptian. These two settlements, along with Kellia, formed the three important monastic communities situated to the West of the Nile Delta.


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Singing with Angels

Christine Sunderland

330px-Guido_Reni_031Today is the eve of the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, or “Michaelmas.” Michaelmas marks the end of harvest, the beginning of fall and the shortening of days.

I believe in angels. They have fluttered through my life, ordering and arranging, guarding and nudging, strengthening and leading. And so today in church I was especially pleased to rediscover this marvelous hymn, #122, sung to a traditional Irish melody:

Angels and ministers, spirits of grace,
Friends of the children, beholding God’s face,
Moving like thought to us through the beyond,
Moulded in beauty, and free from our bond!
Messengers clad in the swiftness of light,
Subtle as flame, as creative in might,
Helmed with the truth and with charity shod,
Wielding the wind of the purpose of God!
Earth’s myriad creatures live after their kind,
Dumb, in the life of the body confined;
You are pure spirit…

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My great white pelican

Russel Ray Photos

Picture of the Moment

A couple of decades ago I was working as a consultant in the wireless telecommunications industry. My home base was San Diego, but I was stationed at the time in Tampa, Florida. I loved it there. The city was great, the Gulf of Mexico and the bays were beautiful, and there were pelicans everywhere. Pelicans probably are my favorite bird that I have actually seen in the wild.

There was a waterfront store in Clearwater that had pelican statues of every shape and size. I knew that my final act when I had to leave Tampa would be to visit that store and buy one of the statues that had a Great White Pelican sitting on a post in the water. I had it shipped to San Diego but, sadly, it was broken when it arrived. I have never seen a similar statue again.


I saw the real thing…

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Good news about Il Bucintoro

Hello World

The photo and text is courtesy of David Lown, an art historian and writer who currently lives in Venice.

Thank you for your generosity in sharing this, David.

His excellent blog, Venice Revealed, is listed on my Blogroll:    http://venicerevealed.blogspot.it/  It’s well worth a visit!

The trunks of 600 oak trees will soon be on their way to Venice from a forest in Aquitaine. They are a gift from the French to Venice, an act of recompense for the part they played in the destruction of something very dear to the Venetians heart more than 200 years ago
In 1798, the ceremonial state barge of the Doge, was reduced to ashes on the orders of Napoleon, whose troops had, the previous year, brought to an end the Venetian Republic. The Bucintoro was central to the annual ceremony known as La Festa della Sensa, in which the Doge marked Venice’s…

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