"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).

Friday, October 18, 2013

Coptic Christian Heritage

Available now in the UK and in December here in the US is a new book by the Coptic scholar Lois Farag which is as timely as ever given the on-going focus on Egypt and the continued suffering of her people, especially her Coptic Christians: Lois M. Farag, ed., The Coptic Christian Heritage: History, Faith and Culture (Routledge, 2013), 296pp.

About this book we are told that it
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 Arabi; .material culture and artistic expression of the Copts: from icons, mosaics and frescos to manuscript illuminations, woodwork and textiles.
We are also given the table of contents and contributors:
Introduction | Part One: Coptic Christian History | 1. The Pre-Christian Period: Changing Times and Cultural Endurance | 2. The Early Christian Period (42-642): The Spread and Defence of the Christian Faith under Roman Rule | 3. The Early Islamic Period (642-1517): From the Arab Conquest through Mamluk Rule | 4. The Ottoman Period (1517-1798): Beyond Persecution or Tolerance | 5. The Pre-Modern Period (1798-1952): The Age of Coptic Citizenship and Reform | 6. The Modern Period (1952-2011): An Era of Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs
Part Two: Coptic Religious Culture | 7. Theology: Defending Orthodoxy | 8. Monasticism: Living Scripture and Theological Orthodoxy | 9. Spirituality: In God’s Presence | 10. Liturgy: Heaven on Earth | 11. Music: Performing Coptic Expressive Culture
Part Three: Coptic Literary Culture | 12. Coptic Language: The Link to Ancient Egyptian | 13. The Greek Literature of the Copts: Innovative and Formative Era | 14. Coptic Literature: Copts Writing in their Own Tongue | 15. Coptic Arabic Literature: When Arabic Became the Language of the Saints
Part Four: Coptic Material Culture | 16. Art: A Multifaceted Artistic Heritage
Contributors: Mariam F. Ayad, Maged S. A. Mikhail, Febe Armanios, Maged Hanna, Saad Michael Saad, John Paul Abdelsayed, Carolyn M. Ramzy, Hany N. Takla, Samuel Moawad, Gawdat Gabra

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