Thomas Pasotp Questions

edited April 2014 in Hymns Discussion
Christ is Risen!

I have a few questions for our resident Coptic experts with regards to the hymn, "Thomas Pasotp"

The text that I have available for the first verse of the hymn reads:
Tomas pasotp amoo sharon:
Teknav eroi tekso-oon emmoi:
Je anok pe Isoos Pikhristos:
Tonf evol khen nee-ethmo-oot.

And the ending of each verse of the Paralexis reads:
Je anok pe epchois Isoos Pikhristos aitonf.

On to my questions:

1. Should not the first line read: "Tomas pasotp amoo sharoi" as opposed to "...sharon". In other words, shouldn't the object here be the first person pronoun, as it is in the next two phrases of the hymn (eroi and emmoi).

2. The construction of the second half of the first verse does not make sense to me. As I am reading it, it translates roughly to: "For I am Jesus Christ raise him from the dead."

3. The construction of the refrain of the Paralexis also does not make sense to me. Again, as I am reading it, it translates roughly to: "For I am the Lord Jesus Christ, I raised him."

It seems to me that the intended meaning of both phrases (#2 and #3) is "For I am [the Lord] Jesus Christ, I have risen (or, I have raised Myself) [from the dead]."

Any insight is appreciated. I anticipate that it is simply a matter of my ignorance; that my rudimentary knowledge of Coptic language/grammar is just not sufficient to parse these phrases. In any case, I'm hoping one of our experts here can clarify these points for me.

Side note: if anyone has access to an original recording of this hymn and is willing to share it, please let me know. I'm particularly interested in the recording from the Muharraq monastery. If not available, recordings from any/all of the original or contemporary muallimeen.

Thanks and God bless.

Truly He is Risen!



  • @minazaki,
    Very well said. All your observations are spot on. This really throws so many questions about the legitimacy of this hymn altogether! Who on earth wrote those words? Someone with a very loose understanding (if at all) of Coptic? I will comment here, but sorry I don't know how to edit these messages in Coptic. 
    1- yes it should be "sharoi" unless the writer wants Christ to refer to Himself with the Trinity! I think I am just making far-fetched assumptions but I don't think that is the aim of the writer at all really. 
    2- Seems the smart writer of this hymn (or song whatever) copied words from the doxology and Adam Aspasmos which basically says "Abekhrestos Yasos .... donf awol ...". "Donf" as you rightly say means "raise him", but actually the verb is incomplete. It is not conjugated. The "A" in my example "Bekhrestos Yasos" conjugates donf into a past tense. Here "donf" which should be "dont" (or "aidont" I raised Myself - or for better grammatical expression "I wokr up"; compare "shaidont 'mebnaw enshorb" when I wake up early that we say in matins doxology from Psalm 3 I think (?)) should be connected to a conjugation prefix!
    3- yes, it should be "ja anok ba ebshois Yasos Bekhrestos aidont". 
    Your knowledge is not rudimentary at all for you to arrive at these observations. I don't know where this hymn is written!

  • edited April 2014
    I agree with what ophadece said about the corrections.  However, I just want to clarify one thing.  Tonf does not mean "raise him."  Tonf comes from the verb Tooun.  This verb is part of a class of verbs that have retained their original Ancient Egyptian structure of conjugation.  As you know, Coptic is the last stage of development of the Egyptian language.  Before Coptic, there was Demotic, Middle Egyptian, and Old Egyptian.  If you go back all the way, you will find that verbs were conjugated at the end, like most other languages, and not at the beginning like we have in Coptic now.  There are lots of words that maintain this structure exclusively and some that maintain it and add onto it the Coptic way of conjugating at the beginning.

    Example of words conjugated/inflected at the end:
        rof    vs   pefro    "his mouth"
        ratf   vs   pefrat   "his foot"
        pejaf  for the past tense of je "to say"

    So the 'f' at the end of tonf is part of the actual conjugation and not a 3rd person objective suffix meaning "him"  When you say "aftonf" you are saying "he rose."  So you then do you say "he raised him"?  Well for that, you would use an entirely different word.  You can see it in English:

    rise   vs   raise

    "rise" is an intransitive verb, meaning it does not take an object.  That's part of why tonf never means "raised him" because the "him" would be an object of the verb.  If you want to turn it into a transitive verb, you change "rise" to "raise".  Similarly in Coptic, if you want to say "raise", you use taho instead of tooun.  Taho comes from two parts:  T + aho.  Aho means to stand.  You may also know it as Ohi.  I belive aho is an old version or a Sahidic version of Ohi.  Notice that it is an intransitive verb.  You don't stand "something", you just stand.  T is the prefix used in Coptic to signify causation.  Ex: co (to drink)  Tco (to give or to cause to drink), ouab (holy, pure)  Toubo (to purify or to make holy).  It's not always as simple as tagging on a T but you get the idea.  So Taho means to cause to stand, ie. raise.  When you say you "raise" someone in Coptic, you are really saying you are causing that person to stand.

    So to say, "he raised him" in Coptic you would say the following:
    Long version:  Aftaho `mmof
    Short Version:  Aftahof

    tl;dr  aftonf means "he rose" only,  aftahof means "he raised him",  tonf has nothing to do with "raising him" because it is an intransitive verb and cannot take an object.

  • @archdeacon,
    Nope, your analysis is wrong. F in donf is the object suffix.
  • I'm with ophadece on this. 
    It can have an object.

    You could use the infinite and say aitooun emmoi
    or use the pronominal form and say aitont

    Both mean "I raised me" or "I raised myself"

    Btw, ophadece, how do I tag people?
  • @lfahmy,
    No, there's no such a thing as aidwon 'moi. There are some verbs in Coptic that cannot exist without the subject pronoun ATTACHED. Examples are verb den- our case, kot-, and shena-...
    As for the second question just add @ before the name!
  • Thank you all for sharing your knowledge.

    @ophadece, while I personally do not know much about OB, I appreciate your zeal for it.

    Also, does anyone happen to have a recording (any recording, really, but especially the Muharraq recording)? I didn't want that request to be buried in the Coptic grammar discussion. Thanks.

    Christ is Risen!
  • I have a few recordings of the hymn. One from the Heritage and one that I actually do not know who the cantor is. I can send you the file and if you recognize him, please let me know so I can properly label it.

    Something interesting to note, the cantor says sharoi not sharon and aitonf not tonf in the first verse. The ending of the paralex is said exactly how you have it written in my recording.

    Thomas recording

    If anyone recognizes the cantor, please let me know.

  • Ekhrestos anesty
    Aidonf is still wrong anyway. I'll try to listen to the recording later.. thanks @aiernovi
  • That recording sounds a lot like Fr Asheya El Muharaqi to me but I could be wrong.
  • The Thomas hymn is grammatical wrong according to modern Coptic grammar. However, this is how the hymn was passed down. I have a manuscript that has the hymn, as well as many other rare hymns. Most of them are also "wrong" grammatically. This tells me that at some point, these "grammatically incorrect" hymns were abandoned for whatever reason. At the time the manuscript was written, an attempt was made to collect rare hymns, even though these hymns were not consistent with typical Coptic linguistics. This may or may not have been intentional.

  • For what its worth, Tarteeb el beya has "aitont"
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