In the fourth century A.D. the deserts of Egypt saw the birth of Christian monasticism under the tutelage of the desert fathers. Since then the movement has spread around the world. This standard work traces the historical development of all the currently inhabited Coptic monasteries, drawing on a wide variety of sources, including accounts by early Western travelers.
Monks and Monasteries of the Egyptian Desert
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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....read more
20 color illus.
Egypt’s Monastic Art and Architecture
Gawdat Gabra With a historical introduction by Tim Vivian 19.95
Egypt’s Monastic Art and ArchitectureGawdat Gabra
With a historical introduction byTim Vivian
Egypt, the birthplace of communal monasticism, has a rich store of monasteries and monastic art. Coptic Monasteries takes the reader on a tour of the best preserved and most significant of these ancient religious centers, documenting in exhaustive detail the richness and the glory of the Coptic heritage. An informative introduction by Tim Vivian brings to life the early Christian era, with background information on the origins of the Coptic Church as well as its rites and ceremonies, sketches of some of monasticism’s founding figures, and accounts of some of the difficulties they faced, from religious schism to nomadic attacks. Gawdat Gabra’s expert commentary, complemented by almost one hundred full-color photographs of newly restored wall paintings and architectural features, covers monasteries from Aswan to Wadi al-Natrun. Ranging across a thousand years of history, Gabra’s observations will make any reader an expert on the composition and content of some of Egypt’s most outstanding religious art, the salient architectural features of each monastery, as well as the ongoing process of restoration that has returned much of their original vibrancy to these works. A unique and invaluable historical record, Coptic Monasteries is equally an in-depth, on-the-spot guide to these living monuments or an armchair trip back in time to the roots of one of the world’s oldest Christian traditions....read more
96 color illus.
An Islam of Her Own
Reconsidering Religion and Secularism in Women’s Islamic Movements
Sherine Hafez 18.95
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
Christianity and Monasticism in Wadi al-Natrun
Edited by Maged S.A. Mikhail Mark Moussa 24.95
Wadi al-Natrun, a depression in the Western Desert of Egypt, is one of the most important centers for the development and continued thriving of the Coptic monastic tradition. Christianity and monasticism have prospered there from as early as the fourth century until the present day, when four major monasteries still flourish. Here, international specialists in Coptology, examine various aspects of Coptic civilization in Wadi al-Natrun over the past seventeen hundred years. The studies center on aspects of the history and development of monasticism inWadi al-Natrun, as well as the art, architecture, and archaeology of the four existing and numerous former monasteries of the region. Contributors: Elizabeth S. Bolman, Karl-Heinz Brune, Peter Grossmann, Johannes den Heijer, Suzana Hodak, Lucy-Anne Hunt, Mat Immerzeel, Martin Krause, Ewa Parandowska, S.G. Richter, Rushdi Said, Zuzana Skalova, Hany H. Takla, Tim Vivian, Jacques van der Vliet, Youhanna NessimYoussef, Ugo Zanetti....read more
90 b/w illus.
Christianity and Monasticism in Aswan and Nubia
Edited by Gawdat Gabra Hany N. Takla 19.50
Hany N. Takla
Christianity and monasticism have flourished along the Nile Valley in the Aswan region of Upper Egypt and in what was once Nubia, from as early as the fourth century until the present day. The contributors to this volume, international specialists in Coptology from around the world, examine various aspects of Coptic civilization in Aswan and Nubia over the past centuries. The complexity of Christian identity in Nubia, as distinct from Egypt, is examined in the context of church ritual and architecture. Many of the studies explore Coptic material culture: inscriptions, art, architecture, and archaeology; and language and literature. The archaeological and artistic heritage of monastic sites in Edfu, Aswan, Makuria, and Kom Ombo are highlighted, attesting to their important legacies in the region....read more
22 July 2016
91 b/w illus.