The Coptic Christian Heritage : History, Faith and Culture book cover
1st Edition

The Coptic Christian Heritage
History, Faith and Culture

ISBN 9780415781039
Published December 3, 2013 by Routledge
296 Pages

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

Introduction Lois M. Farag  PART ONE: COPTIC CHRISTIAN HISTORY  1. The Pre-Christian Period: Changing Times and Cultural Endurance Mariam F. Ayad  2. The Early Christian Period (42-642): The Spread and Defense of the Christian Faith under Roman Rule Lois M. Farag  3. The Early Islamic Period (642-1517): From the Arab Conquest through Mamluk Rule Maged S. A. Mikhail  4. The Ottoman Period (1517-1798): Beyond Persecution or Tolerance Febe Armanios  5. The Pre-Modern Period (1798-1952): The Age of Coptic Citizenship and Reform Maged Hanna  6. The Modern Period (1952-2011): An Era of Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs Saad Michael Saad  PART TWO: COPTIC RELIGIOUS CULTURE  7. Theology: Defending Orthodoxy Lois M. Farag  8. Monasticism: Living Scripture and Theological Orthodoxy Lois M. Farag  9. Spirituality: In God’s Presence Lois M. Farag  10. Liturgy: Heaven on Earth John Paul Abdelsayed  11. Music: Performing Coptic Expressive Culture Carolyn M. Ramzy  PART THREE: COPTIC LITERARY CULTURE 12. Coptic Language: The Link to Ancient Egyptian Hany N. Takla  13. The Greek Literature of the Copts: Innovative and Formative Era Lois M. Farag  14. Coptic Literature: Copts Writing in their Own Tongue Hany N. Takla  15. Coptic Arabic Literature: When Arabic Became the Language of the Saints Samuel Moawad  PART FOUR: COPTIC MATERIAL CULTURE  16. Art: A Multifaceted Artistic Heritage Gawdat Gabra

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Lois M. Farag is Associate Professor of Early Church History at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her books include St. Cyril of Alexandria, A New Testament Exegete (Gorgias Press, 2007) and Balance of the Heart: Desert Spirituality for Twenty-First Century Christians (Cascade Books, 2012).


"The Coptic Christian Heritage fills an urgent need for better information about and understanding of the history, culture, and spirituality of Coptic Christians. Lois Farag and her colleagues have created an invaluable resource for teachers, students, researchers, and general readers. By approaching Coptic Christianity without either doctrinal prejudice or Euro-centrism, this volume brings to life one of Christianity’s oldest and richest traditions."

- David Brakke, Ohio State University, USA

"This carefully designed collection of essays offers a timely survey of Coptic Christian Egypt from its origins to the uprising of January 2011. Readers embark on a journey through the history of the church and its religious, literary, and artistic culture. Written by scholars from within the tradition, the volume furnishes a much needed, sympathetic introduction to an important and often overlooked branch of Christianity."

- James E. Goehring, University of Mary Washington, USA