For more than a millennium, Sufism has been the core of the spiritual experience of countless Muslims. As the chief mystical tradition of Islam, it has helped to shape the history of Islamic societies. Although it is the Sufi face of Islam that has often appealed to Westerners, Sufis and Sufism remain mysterious to many in the West, and are still widely misunderstood. In this new, redesigned paperback edition of this bestselling book, a scholar with long experience of Sufism in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Europe succinctly presents the essentials of Sufism and shows how Sufis live and worship, and why. As well as what Sufism is and where it comes from, the book discusses Sufi orders not only in the Islamic world but also in the West. The political, social, and economic significance of Sufism is outlined, and the question of how and why Sufism has become one of the more controversial aspects of contemporary Islamic religious life is addressed. This book assumes no prior knowledge of the subject. It is a penetrating and concise introduction for everyone interested in Islam and Islamic societies.
The Christians of the Nile
The Christians of the NileChristian Cannuyer
Between the glory of the pharaohs and the grandeur of Islam lies another Egypt: that of the Copts, Egypt’s Christians. This venerable church embraced the teachings of Jesus when they were new, invented monasticism, gave saints and scholars to the world, and has preserved its ancient traditions down to our day. The Copts were famous for their richly colored textiles and figurative paintings: today, the wide-eyed faces of antiquity gaze at us from out of the past, proclaiming the eternity of Egyptian humanity. According to legend, Mark the Evangelist founded the Coptic church in Alexandria in the first century A.D., when Egypt was under Roman rule and practiced polytheistic religions. Though Egypt has been an Islamic nation since the seventh century, the Copts have maintained their traditions and rites at monasteries and villages throughout the country. Beautiful antique textiles, mosaics, illuminated manuscripts, frescoes, book-bindings, and monuments attest to their rich and venerable culture, which drew inspiration from Egyptian, Hellenistic, and Near Eastern art. This lavishly illustrated little book brings the extraordinary artistic and cultural heritage of the Copts to life....read more
164 color photographs
Historical Dictionary of the Coptic Church
According to tradition, Saint Mark brought Christianity to Egypt during the first century, and in so doing formed the basis for the Coptic Orthodox Church. Today, Copts comprise the largest Christian community in the Middle East. They make up perhaps tenth of Egypt’s population, and many hundreds of thousands also live in North America and Australia. This new and comprehensive reference work by a leading Coptic scholar details the history of one of the oldest Christian churches through a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and more than 400 cross-referenced dictionary entries on important people, organizations, and structures, the theology and practices of the church, its literature and liturgy, and its monasteries and churches....read more
Christianity and Monasticism in Middle Egypt
Minya and Asyut
Edited by Gawdat Gabra Hany Takla
Minya and AsyutEdited by Gawdat Gabra
Christianity and monasticism have long flourished along the Nile in Middle Egypt, the region stretching from al-Bahnasa (Oxyrhynchus) to Dayr al-Ganadla. The contributors to this volume, international specialists in Coptology from around the world, examine various aspects of Coptic civilization in Middle Egypt over the past two millennia. The studies explore Coptic art and archaeology, architecture, language, and literature. The artistic heritage of monastic sites in the region is highlighted, attesting to their important legacies....read more
20 November 2015
90 b/w illus.
Egypt’s Monastic Art and Architecture
Gawdat Gabra With a historical introduction by Tim Vivian
Egypt’s Monastic Art and ArchitectureGawdat Gabra
With a historical introduction by Tim 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
15 October 2010
96 color illus.