Copts in Context
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181 pages

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A comprehensive examination of this deeply traditional Christian religion as it confronts modernity

Though the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt is among the oldest Christian communities in the world, it remained relatively unknown outside of Egypt for most of its existence. In the wake of the Arab Spring, however, this community was caught up in regional violence, and its predicament became a cause for concern around the world. Copts in Context examines the situation of the Copts as a minority faith in a volatile region and as a community confronting modernity while steeped in tradition.

Nelly van Doorn-Harder opens Coptic identity and tradition to a broad range of perspectives: historical, political, sociological, anthropological, and ethnomusicological. Starting with contemporary issues such as recent conflicts in Egypt, the volume works back to topics—among them the Coptic language, the ideals and tradition of monasticism, and church historiography—that while rooted in the ancient past, nevertheless remain vital in Coptic memory and understanding of culture and tradition. Contributors examine developments in the Coptic diaspora, in religious education and the role of children, and in Coptic media, as well as considering the varied nature of Coptic participation in Egyptian society and politics over millennia.

With many Copts leaving the homeland, preservation of Coptic history, memory, and culture has become a vital concern to the Coptic Church. These essays by both Coptic and non-Coptic scholars offer insights into present-day issues confronting the community and their connections to relevant themes from the past, demonstrating reexamination of that past helps strengthen modern-day Coptic life and culture.



Publié par
Date de parution 03 octobre 2017
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781611177855
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,2900€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Copts in Context
Studies in Comparative Religion Frederick M. Denny, Series Editor

Negotiating Identity, Tradition, and Modernity
Edited by
Nelly van Doorn-Harder

The University of South Carolina Press
2017 University of South Carolina
Published by the University of South Carolina Press
Columbia, South Carolina 29208
24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data can be found at
ISBN 978-1-61117-784-8 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-1-61117-785-5 (ebook)

List of Illustrations
Series Editor s Preface
Note on Transliteration
Introduction: Creating and Maintaining Tradition in Modernity
Part 1: Identity in Transition
The Copts in the January Revolution of 2011
Sebastian Els sser
The Undesirables of Egypt: A Story of Persecution and Defiance
Mariz Tadros
Examining the Role of Media in Coptic Studies
Angie Heo
Father Samaan and the Charismatic Trend within the Coptic Church
Ga tan du Roy
Transmitting Coptic Musical Heritage
S verine Gabry-Thienpont
Part 2: Challenges of the Diaspora
Singing Strategic Multiculturalism: The Discursive Politics of Song in Coptic-Canadian Protests
Carolyn M. Ramzy
Coptic Migrant Churches: Transnationalism and the Negotiation of Different Roles
Ghada Botros
Strategies of Adaptation for Survival: The Introduction of Converts to the Coptic Orthodox Community in the Greater Toronto Area
Rachel Loewen
Belonging to the Church Community: From Childhood Years Onward
Nora Stene
Part 3: Tradition
The Revival of the Coptic Language and the Formation of Coptic Ethnoreligious Identity in Modern Egypt
Hiroko Miyokawa
Reading the Church s Story: The Amr-Benjamin Paradigm and Its Echoes in The History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria
Mark Swanson
The Evolution of Lent in Alexandria and the Alleged Reforms of Patriarch Demetrius
Maged S. A. Mikhail
The Perfect Monk: Ideals of Masculinity in the Monastery of Shenoute
Caroline T. Schroeder
The Paradox of Monasticism: The Transformation of Ascetic Ideals from the Fourth to the Seventh Century
Karel C. Innem e
Reconsidering the Emerging Monastic Desertscape
Darlene L. Brooks Hedstrom
Selected Bibliography

Fig. 1 . Words of encouragement from Pope Tawadros, early 2013
Fig. 2 . Recent icon of Saint Dimayana and her forty virgins
Fig. 3 . Portrait of Saint and Pope Kyrillos VI
Fig. 4 . Poster to commemorate Pope Shenouda s fiftieth anniversary as a monk
Fig. 5 . Icon of the Archangel Gabriel
Fig. 6 . Icon painting of the Virgin Mary, by Ishaq Rufa il Girgis
Fig. 7 . Flyer for Magued Tawfik s hagiographic films
Fig. 8 . Poster of the six martyrs of the Nag Hammadi shootings
Fig. 9 . Stick method to teach the Halleluia
Fig. 10 . Egyptian Coptic-Canadians protest the 2010 Nag Hammadi killings
Fig. 11. Taratil CD dispensing machine
Fig. 12 . Cover/masthead from Ayn Shams magazine, no. 1
Fig. 13 . Survey map of the surroundings of the Monastery of Saint Macarius
Fig. 14 . Structure 25, preliminary reconstruction

This remarkable book provides contemporary readers and scholars around the world with a delightful and rewarding journey through the complex and generally lesser known dimension of Egyptian religious history: Coptic Christianity. Professor van Doorn-Harder and her superb contributors themselves represent a rich diversity of scholarly and cultural contexts and together have indeed enabled us to learn about Copts in diverse contexts . The contexts in which Coptic Christians have lived, loved, believed and survived through long and often challenging eras, contexts and regions are described and explained. as the subtitle proclaims, by Negotiating Identity, Tradition, and Modernity.
Copts in Context will provide an exciting product in the popular market of historical studies of lesser known but intriguing subjects. If I were still a full-time religious studies professor of history of religions and Islamic studies, with a considerable amount of field research in Egypt, I would immediately design a course using this book and encourage colleagues in history, theology, anthropology, and sociology to use it as well. Professors and their students will be thrilled to learn about Copts in Egyptian history down to the present, not only as they have lived and believed but also as they are living in significant growing migrant churches in the contemporary world well beyond Egypt, such as in Canada. Christian readers from any denomination will be introduced to contemporary Coptic sacred music including hymns.
Frederick Mathewson Denny

This book is the culmination of several years of research and collaboration that started in September 2008 with a panel during the International Congress for Coptic Studies. During this panel papers were read that covered topics related to challenges and opportunities scholars faced when studying the contemporary Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, the indigenous church of that nation. One of the panel s conclusions was that in the Coptic context it is impossible to divorce history and ancient tradition from the modern period, even from current-day events.
Two years later several of us met again in September (17-19, 2010) during a three-day international meeting at Wake Forest University. This time the theme of the meeting included historical matters. Using the working title The Future of Coptic Studies: Theories, Methodologies, and Subjects, the goal was to assess how various developments within the field of Coptic studies informed studies within the different time periods. Coptic studies covers a timespan of nearly two thousand years, starting as a subcategory of pharaonic, early Christian, and other studies on antiquity. Most of its practitioners, such as textual scholars, archaeologists, and art historians, have studied the pre-Islamic period. Research on Egypt s Christian heritage after the seventh century, the time of the Arab-Muslim invasion, only began to develop during the past thirty years, so there remains much to say about the modern era and how early history continues to inform current events.
While preparing a book based on the conference, on January 25, 2011, the Arab Spring reached Egypt. With several of the authors living in Egypt and/or being involved in these events, the book had to be put on hold. When two years later their minds could turn to academia again and the revised chapters started to arrive at my computer, it became clear that the focus of the book had shifted from research trends to elements of Coptic identity. In spite of these academic considerations, the ultimate goal of the book remains to provide a bird s-eye view of topics that present the Coptic historic and contemporary experience to a wider audience.
Among the many readers, the three anonymous peer reviewers provided invaluable suggestions toward reaching this goal and strengthening the content of this book. I express my deep appreciation to them as well as to Kari Vogt and Magda Kamel, who took the time to read most of the chapters, and I thank Maged S. A. Mikhail and Mark Swanson for carefully reading my introduction. I also thank the students at Wake Forest University, who over the years helped me with the editorial work: Lindsey Mullen, Martha Fulton, Meagan Lankford, Chris Iskander, John Iskander, John James, and Keith Menhinick. They read through the manuscript and came up with useful ideas about how to make the book accessible to the classroom.
The generous grants that paid for the international conference came from Dr. Kline Harrison s Office for Global Affairs, the Religion Department, and the Department of Philosophy at Wake Forest University. I thank the colleagues and students from the WFU School of Divinity for organizing a reception in honor of Bishop Serapion, the Coptic bishop of Los Angeles, Southern California, and Hawai i. This meeting would not have been so successful had it not been for the bishop s keynote speech, his support, and his presence. And, of course, I will always remain grateful to the members of the Coptic community in Winston Salem, North Carolina, who, under the leadership of Mrs. Laurice Iskander, provided us with meals and places to stay.
This book would furthermore not have been possible without the help of colleagues who participated in the conference as moderators and respondents: Stephen Boyd, Linda Bridges, Michaelle Browers, Mary Foskett, Simeon Ilesanmi, Ronald Neal, Lynn Neal, Gail O Day, Tanisha Ramachandran, Neal Walls, and Charles Wilkin. I also thank David Morgan from Duke University and Vincent Cornell from Emory University for their brilliant responses to some of the panels.
Above all, I would like to thank the participants at the different meetings and the authors who provided material for this book. Some of them are presenting brand-new material, while others have revisited earlier research. All of them went the extra mile to represent a community that has lived, for too long, at the outer edges of World Christianity.
I also need to mention the good advice and encouragement given by many colleagues: Christian Chaillot, Gawdat Gabra, Magdi Guirguis, Laure Guirguis, Vivian Ibrahim, Levi Klempner, Helen Moussa, Michael Saad, Hani Takla and Jason Zaborowski. I thank them all.
Finally, I thank James Denton and Linda F

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