"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, July 1, 2013

The Desert and the Copts Today

The Coptic scholar Lois Farag recently published one book, and late this year will publish another one. The first is Balance of the Heart: Desert Spirituality for Twenty-First-Century Christians (Wipf and Stock, 2012), 282pp.

About this book we are told:
Desert spirituality speaks to the mind and heart. It is a spirituality that helps us balance our work and daily obligations and figure out our priorities and the place of God in our lives. Desert spirituality addresses our most intimate thoughts and helps us analyze the roots of our spiritual setbacks. Its essence is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind (Matt 22:37). Starting in fourth-century Egypt, desert spirituality has become a global phenomenon. It has endured through the centuries because it is practical and simple; it tells us how to live out Scripture in our daily lives. It is also profound; it is deeply rooted in the theology of the incarnation and the renewal of creation by the resurrection. The desert fathers and mothers left us short wisdom sayings, revealing their inner experience in their long journey toward being with God. They speak about Scripture and prayer, but also about how to love our neighbors, discern our thoughts, and evaluate our daily activities. Come, learn from these desert dwellers as they teach us about the examination of thoughts, the discernment of the soul, and the balance of the heart.
Then, just before Christmas this year she has another work coming out: The Coptic Christian Heritage: History, Faith and Culture (Routledge, 2013), 320pp.

The publisher provides the following details about this forthcoming book:
This book offers a comprehensive introduction to the heritage of Coptic Christians. The contributors combine academic expertise with intimate and practical knowledge of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Coptic heritage. The chapters explore historical, cultural, literary and material aspects, including:

  • the history of Christianity in Egypt, from the pre-Christian era to the modern day

  • Coptic religious culture: theology, monasticism, spirituality, liturgy and music

  • the Coptic language, linguistic expressions of the Coptic heritage and literary production in Greek, Coptic and Arabic .

  • material culture and artistic expression of the Copts: from icons, mosaics and frescos to manuscript illuminations, woodwork and textiles.
Students will find The Coptic Christian Heritage an invaluable introduction, whilst scholars will find its breadth provides a helpful context for specialised research.

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