1st Edition

The Legacy of Demetrius of Alexandria 189-232 CE
The Form and Function of Hagiography in Late Antique and Islamic Egypt

ISBN 9780367876821
Published December 19, 2019 by Routledge
216 Pages

USD $47.95

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Book Description

This is the first full-length study of Demetrius of Alexandria (189–232 ce), who generated a neglected, yet remarkable hagiographic program that secured him a positive legacy throughout the Middle Ages and the modern era. Drawing upon Patristic, Coptic, and Arabic sources spanning a millennium, the analysis contextualizes the Demetrian corpus at its various stages of composition and presents the totality of his hagiographic corpus in translation.

This volume constitutes a definitive study of Demetrius, but more broadly, it provides a clearly delineated hagiographic program and charts its evolution against a backdrop of political developments and intercommunal interactions. This fascinating study is a useful resource for students of Demetrius and the Church in Egypt in this period, but also for anyone working on Early Christianity and hagiography more generally.

Table of Contents



Part I: The Genesis and Evolution of a Hagiographic Program

1. The Bishop and the Scholar

2. Sources

3. Early Imprints

4. Date and Socio-Literary Setting of the Sahidic Coptic Tradition

5. The Encomium on Demetrius as Hagiography

6. Hagiography across Language and Culture

7. Arabic Recensions, Amendments, and Omissions: Emergence of the Normative Hagiography

8. Lent and Epact in Alexandria

9. Form, Function, and Meaning

Part II: Texts – Demetrius’s Bio-Hagiographic Dossier

I. Earliest Evidence

II. An Encomium on Demetrius of Alexandria

III. Demetrius’s sirah in the History of the Patriarchs’ Primitive Recension

IV. Eutychius’s Nazm al-jawhar (The String of Pearls)

V. Kitab al-tawarīkh and the Chronicon orientale

VI. The Coptic-Arabic synaksar (Synaxarium)

VII. Abu al-Barakat’s Musbah al-zulma (A Lamp in the Darkness)

VIII. The Difnar (Antiphonarium)

IX. Doxologies and Praises

Works Cited


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Maged S. A. Mikhail is Professor of History at California State University at Fullerton, USA.