"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Quo Vadis Aegyptus?

As I have noted before, the situation facing Egypt's Coptic Christians in their country continues to be very grim indeed. The so-called Arab Spring has not given way to much hope for the Copts, but we must pray that the situation turns for the better for these most long-suffering of persecuted Christians.

A new book has just been published by Yale University Press that may shed some light on recent history of Egypt, and more recent events: Tarek Osman, Egypt on the Brink: From Nasser to Mubarak (Yale UP, 2011), 304pp.

About this book, the publisher tells us:

Famous until the 1950s for its religious pluralism and extraordinary cultural heritage, Egypt is now seen as an increasingly repressive and divided land, home of the Muslim Brotherhood and an opaque regime headed by the aging President Mubarak.
In this immensely readable and thoroughly researched book, Tarek Osman explores what has happened to the biggest Arab nation since President Nasser took control of the country in 1954. He examines Egypt’s central role in the development of the two crucial movements of the period, Arab nationalism and radical Islam; the increasingly contentious relationship between Muslims and Christians; and perhaps most important of all, the rift between the cosmopolitan elite and the mass of the undereducated and underemployed population, more than half of whom are aged under thirty. This is an essential guide to one of the Middle East’s most important but least understood states.
Chapter 5, "Egyptian Christians" looks to be of especial interest, but the whole book treats a crucial area of our time, and will be expertly reviewed in 2012 in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies, to which you may subscribe here.

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