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With increasing interest in early Egyptian (Coptic) Christianity, this volume offers an important collection of essays about Coptic language, literature, and social history by the very finest authors in the field. The essays explore a wide range of topics and offer much to the advancement of Coptic studies. Readers interested in the emergence of Christianity in Egypt and its later development in the Coptic Church will find much of interest in these pages.
The essays range broadly through the areas of Coptic language and literature, examining the origins and history of the Coptic community in its formative years. The Jewish content and connections of earliest Christianity in Egypt are explored, as is the survival of pagan religion in a later increasingly Christian world. Studies of Egyptian monasticism range from investigations of the later literature and history of the important Upper Egyptian communal movement of Pachomius to the identity of a class of monks disparaged by Cassian and Jerome. One finds here a new translation and analysis of a letter of Evagrius of Pontus addressed to a monk enmeshed in difficult family relationships, and a careful study of the 4th-5th century monastic leader Shenoute's discourse I am Amazed, illustrating the significance of his role in the developing opposition to the Council of Chalcedon.
Other studies include an important examination of the rhetorical structure of Coptic sermons (with numerous examples), a study of the complex manuscript tradition of the Coptic ecclesiastical history, and a fascinating application of modern information theory to the analysis of Coptic grammar.
Written in honor of David W. Johnson, S.J., professor emeritus of Semitic and Egyptian languages at the Catholic University of America, the book features essays by Monica Blanchard, Daniel Boyarin, Leo Depuydt, David Frankfurter, James E. Goehring, Tito Orlandi, Birger Pearson, Philip Rousseau, Mark Sheridan, Janet A. Timbie, and Robin Darling Young.
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