The Coptic Christian tradition is one that goes back almost two thousand years to the very beginnings of Christianity: Mark the Evangelist himself is said to have brought the faith to Alexandria. In his Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity (AUC Press, 1999), renowned scholar Otto Meinardus reviewed the history of the official church from its earliest days to the end of the twentieth century, with its doctrinal disputes and its long isolation from other world churches. Here in Coptic Saints and Pilgrims, he examines the other side of the coin, the popular traditions and beliefs of the people. While the Coptic Orthodox church is strongly influenced by Hellenistic modes of thinking, many of the folk attitudes and practices by contrast have their roots in the religious heritage of pharaonic Egypt, and while the official faith is by its sacramental nature exclusive, the folk religion is inclusive and touches every aspect of the personal lives of ordinary Copts. It is this popular aspect of Coptic religious devotion that is revealed here, in its many points of focus: biblical saints, martyrs, ascetics, equestrian warriors, ‘silverless’ physicians, women saints, pilgrimage, dreams, visions, and apparitions.
Coptic Saints and Pilgrimages
15 February 2008
20 color illus.
For sale worldwide
Cradle of Islam
The Hijaz and the Quest for an Arabian Identity
The Hijaz and the Quest for an Arabian IdentityMai Yamani
In 1932 the Al Saud family incorporated the kingdom of Hijaz, once the cultural hub of the Arabian world, into the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The urban, cosmopolitan Hijazis were absorbed into a new state whose codes of behavior and rules were determined by the Najdis, an ascetic desert people, from whom the Al Saud family came. But the Saudi rulers failed to fully integrate the Hijaz, which retains a distinctive identity to this day. Here May Yamani traces the fortunes of the distinctive and resilient culture of the Hijazis, from the golden age of Hashemite Mecca to Saudi domination to its current resurgence. The Hijazis today emphasise their regional heritage in religious ritual, food, dress, and language as a response to the ‘Najdification’ of everyday life. The Hijazi experience shows the vitality of cultural diversity in the face of political repression in the Arab world....read more
Christianity and Monasticism in the Fayoum Oasis
Essays from the 2004 International Symposium of the Saint Mark Foundation and the Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society in Honor of Martin Krause
Edited by Gawdat Gabra
Essays from the 2004 International Symposium of the Saint Mark Foundation and the Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society in Honor of Martin KrauseEdited by Gawdat Gabra
Christianity began in the large and fertile Fayoum oasis of Egypt’s Western Desert as early as the third century, and its presence has endured to the present day. This volume, which constitutes a tribute to the scholarly work of the father of modern Coptology, Martin Krause, contains contributions on various aspects of Coptic civilization in Egypt’s largest oasis over the past eighteen hundred years. The contributors are all international specialists in Coptology, from Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and the United States. A number of the studies included in this volume deal with recent archaeological discoveries at Deir al-Banat, the early Christian graves in the necropolis at the eastern edge of the Fayoum, and the monastic settlements and medieval Coptic cemetery at Naqlun. Others provide thorough examinations of archaeological sites at Karanis, Tebtunis, and Naqlun. Contributions cover the rich Christian literary heritage in Greek, Coptic, and Arabic, while art historians touch on the famous Fayoum portraits and their influence on the production of Coptic icons, as well as on the medieval wall paintings at Naqlun and in textiles, metal objects, and basketry from the region. This important volume provides for the first time an up-to-date, comprehensive treatment of Christianity and monasticism in the Fayoum Oasis. Contributors: Father Bigoul al-Suriany, Roger S. Bagnall, Dominique Bénazeth, Anne Boud’hors, Ramez Boutros, Karl-Heinz Brune, Barbara Czaja-Szewczak, Stephen Davis, Stephen Emmel, Cäcilia Fluck, Wodzimierz Godlewski, Wilfred C. Griggs, Peter Grossman, Alexi Krol, Suzana Hodak, Anetta Lyzwa-Piber, Ewa Parandowska, Siegfried G. Richter, Marie-Hélène Rutschowscaya, Sofia Schaten, Zuzana Skalova, Jacques Van der Vliet, Youhanna Youssef....read more
1 August 2005
96 b/w illus.
Reem Al Faisal With text by Seyyed Hossein Nasr
With text bySeyyed Hossein Nasr
The great Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five ‘pillars’ of Islam, required of every Muslim who is fit and able to undertake it. Every year in the month of Dhu al-Hijja, millions of Muslims converge on this desert city on the Arabian Peninsula from all corners of the globe, in one of the world’s greatest and most spiritual human gatherings. Saudi princess and photographer Reem Al Faisal here brings together a portrait of the Hajj in an extraordinary collection of black-and-white photographs that reveal not just the vast scale of the pilgrimage, not just the range of rituals involved, but also the human dimension: the sheer variety of humanity that comes here, the private moments of piety and devotion, the intimate moments of relaxation, and the joy (and sometimes anxiety) of being a part of such an immense community of people in a common purpose....read more
175 b/w photographs
An Islam of Her Own
Reconsidering Religion and Secularism in Women’s Islamic Movements
Reconsidering Religion and Secularism in Women’s Islamic MovementsSherine Hafez
As the world grapples with issues of religious fanaticism, extremist politics, and rampant violence that seek justification in either “religious” or “secular” discourses, women who claim Islam as a vehicle for individual and social change are often either regarded as pious subjects who subscribe to an ideology that denies them many modern freedoms, or as feminist subjects who seek empowerment only through rejecting religion and adopting secularist discourses. Yet in actuality Muslim women whose activism is grounded in Islam draw equally on principles associated with secularism. Here Sherine Hafez focuses on women’s Islamic activism in Egypt to challenge these binary representations of religious versus secular subjectivities. Drawing on five years of ethnographic fieldwork within a women’s Islamic movement in Cairo, Hafez analyzes the ways in which women who participate in Islamic activism narrate their selfhood, articulate their desires, and embody discourses in which the boundaries are blurred between the religious and the secular....read more