The Early Coptic Papacy

The Egyptian Church and Its Leadership in Late Antiquity: The Popes of Egypt, Volume 1

Stephen J. Davis

The Copts, adherents of the Egyptian Orthodox Church, today represent the largest Christian community in the Middle East, and their presiding bishops

English edition
12 September 2017
280 pp.
15 b/w illus.
15X23cm
ISBN 9789774168345
For sale worldwide

$24.95

The Copts, adherents of the Egyptian Orthodox Church, today represent the largest Christian community in the Middle East, and their presiding bishops have been accorded the title of pope since the third century AD. This study analyzes the development of the Egyptian papacy from its origins to the rise of Islam. How did the papal office in Egypt evolve as a social and religious institution during the first six and a half centuries AD? How do the developments in the Alexandrian patriarchate reflect larger developments in the Egyptian church as a whole—in its structures of authority and lines of communication, as well as in its social and religious practices? In addressing such questions, Stephen J. Davis examines a wide range of evidence—letters, sermons, theological treatises, and church histories, as well as art, artifacts, and archaeological remains—to discover what the patriarchs did as leaders, how their leadership was represented in public discourses, and how those representations definitively shaped Egyptian Christian identity in late antiquity. The Early Coptic Papacy is Volume 1 of The Popes of Egypt: A History of the Coptic Church and Its Patriarchs. Also available: Volume 2, The Coptic Papacy in Islamic Egypt, 641–1517 (Mark N. Swanson) and Volume 3, The Emergence of the Modern Coptic Papacy (Magdi Girgis, Nelly van Doorn-Harder).

Stephen J. Davis

Stephen J. Davis is assistant professor of religious studies at Yale University, specializing in the history of Christianity in late antiquity. He is author of The Cult of St. Thecla: A Tradition of Women’s Piety in Late Antiquity and co-author of Be Thou There: The Holy Family’s Journey in Egypt (AUC Press, 2001). Gawdat Gabra is an independent scholar specializing in Coptic studies, and former director of the Coptic Museum in Cairo. He is the author or editor of numerous books related to the literary and material culture of Egyptian Christianity, including Coptic Monasteries: Egypt’s Monastic Art and Architecture and Christian Egypt: Coptic Art and Monuments through Two Millennia (both AUC Press 2002).
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