Coptic Bible App for iOS and Android Devices
As far back as early 1978, Prof. John B. Callender mentioned in his UCLA Coptic Language class that the responsibility for compiling the Coptic Old Testament should be done by Copts. This became a call to action for the only Copt in the class. Eventually the St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society was founded by that young man on December 22, 1979. One of the primary purpose was the compilation of a Coptic Bible. initial work already started earlier in 1978. The early microfilm acquisitions for the Society were for Bible manuscripts from the different European and American libraries and Museums. The following is the chronological stages that led to the preparation of the texts that were used in the App:
- 1978: Early work was done on paper and at times with the aide of a Coptic typing element on an IBM Selectric Typewriter as well as hand transcription of manuscripts.
- 1984: Computerization of some of these texts using Atari computer with developed Coptic Screen Fonts
- 1987: With the advent of the DOS-based, MultiLingual Scholar (MLS) IBM Software, more work was inputted. The Coptic Font for this program was developed by Mr. Isaac Gindi of Los Angeles with input from the Society
- 1992: Fr. Antonious Henein of Los Angeles, commissioned a young computer developer, Wisam Michael to create a Coptic True Type Font with input from the Society.
- 1993: All the work already done on the MLS was converted to ASCII characters and imported in Microsoft Word and diacritical signs were reinserted from scratch.
- 1995: The developer granted the rights for the font to the Society to use or modify, thus allowing us to produce the first electronic copy of the Coptic New Testament in multiple dialects on 3-1/2 inch diskettes, programmed using the Windows Help format.
- 1996: The Society began to convert the word files into early PDF format.
- 1997: The Society created the first complete Bohairic/Sahidic/Greek/KJV New Testament on a CD.
- 2009: The Society republished these files on the web via a subscription site (Coptic Heritage)
- 2017: The Society converted all the files of Biblical texts, Old and New Testaments, from ttf to unicode fonts.
- 2019: The Society places two Gospel Books in both Bohairic and Sahidic in parallel on the Society website, stshenouda.org.
- March 2021: After discussions on the subject over the past couple of months, the Society decided to commission a developer, Mr. Mina Makar to develop an App that is user-friendly, robust, and searchable to display the biblical files produced by the Society. From that point onward, we took the approach to reformat all texts and add the diacritical signs to make it more understandable grammatically. It was decided to distribute this history-making App for FREE to allow those in countries that have difficulties paying for Apps to download it and use it.
- July 14, 2021: Mina released both the iOS (iPhone/iPad), and Android (phones and tablets) version 1.0, after a period of Beta testing
- July 25, 2021: As of this date, the number of downloaded units were: 357 for the Android and 506 for the iOS. Most of the Android units were downloaded in Egypt and most of the iOS ones were in the US.
- December 20, 2021: As of this date, the number of downloaded units were: 1170 (752 active) for the Android and 899 for the iOS. Most of the Android units were downloaded in Egypt and most of the iOS ones were in the US.
Version 1.0 contains the following Biblical texts:
- Sahidic: Ruth, Joshua, I Samuel, II Samuel, Tobit, Psalms, Song of Songs
- Sahidic: Complete New Testament
- Bohairic: All surviving texts of the Old Testament
- Bohairic: Complete New Testament
- Fayyumic: Song of Songs
- Akhmimic: Haggai
- English: George Horner's English Translation of the Northern (Bohairic) Dialect
- English: Lancelot Brenton's The Septuagint. Greek and English (Old Testament)
- Greek: See the App Sources
Future Updates hopefully will include:
- More texts from other dialects for Old and New Testament from the extensive digital collection of the Society
- Ability to modify the current display of fixed two columns to something more flexible
- Additions of Variant readings attached to existing verses.
Contribution to the App Development
The Development cost and the cost of the resources needed to prepare all the texts included in it is the tens thousands of dollars that were spend by the Society over the years. If you like to contribute to this project, you are welcome to do it via the donation button here. Pray for the continuing success of this work as this is just the first step in compiling the complete Coptic Bible.