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Other titles in the Popes of Egypt series:
Popes of Egypt #02: The Coptic Papacy in Islamic Egypt (641-1517)by Mark N. Swanson
Synopses & Reviews
In Volume 1 of this series, Stephen Davis contended that the themes of apostolicity, martyrdom, monastic patronage, and theological resistance were determinative for the cultural construction of Egyptian church leadership in late antiquity. Volume 2, The Coptic Papacy in Islamic Egypt, shows that the medieval Coptic popes (641-1517 CE) were regularly portrayed as standing in continuity with their saintly predecessors; however, at the same time they were active in creating something new, the Coptic Orthodox Church, a community that struggled to preserve a distinctive life and witness within the new Islamic world order. The medieval popes are depicted as 'living martyrs' in the Church of the Martyrs, as conductors of an orchestra of holiness, as community representatives hard-pressed by financial obligations and engaged in complex relationships with both Muslim officials and Coptic lay notables, as patrons of a resilient sacred geography that rooted Coptic culture in a network of holy places, and as leaders in both acculturation and resistance to a largely Islamic society. Building on recent advances in the study of sources for Coptic church history, the present volume aims to show how portrayals of the medieval popes provide a window into the religious and social life of their community.
Book News Annotation:
In this second book of a proposed trilogy covering the history of the Coptic papacy in Egypt, Swanson (Christian-Muslim studies, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago) employs contemporary sources to give reasons for the continuation of the Coptic religion despite pressure from Islamic rulers to convert and equal pressure from Constantinople and Rome to conform to their creeds. He states that he does not find sadness in the diminution of the Coptic Church, but rather he is impressed at the fact that they have survived to this day despite centuries of persecution. The lives of the Patriarchs demonstrate the ways in which the leaders of the Church were examples of steadfastness in the faith. Swanson also points out that they adapted in some ways in order to survive, the most obvious being the gradual change from Coptic to Arabic in their catechism. This study is a model for anyone researching the survival of a small group within a dominant society. Distributed in the U.S. by International Publishers Marketing. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The Popes of Egypt: A History of the Coptic Church and Its Patriarchs Volume 2
About the Author
Mark N. Swanson is Harold S. Vogelaar professor of Christian-Muslim studies and interfaith relations at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
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History and Social Science » World History » General