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v2.1 Reference

The World of Early Egyptian Christianity

Language, Literature, and Social Context

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.


James E. Goehring is professor in the Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion at the University of Mary Washington and former president of the North American Patristics Society. Janet A. Timbie is adjunct associate professor of Semitic and Egyptian languages at the Catholic University of America.



David W. Johnson: Publications


1. The Coptic Ecclesiastical History: A Survey

Tito Orlandi

2. Rhetorical Structure in Coptic Sermons

Mark Sheridan

3. Sarabaitae and Remnuoth: Coptic Considerations

Monica J. Blanchard

4. Reading and Rereading Shenoute's I Am Amazed: More Information on Nestorius and Others

Janet A. Timbie

5. Questions and Related Phenomena in Coptic and in General: Final Definitions Based on Boole's Laws

Leo Depuydt


6. Earliest Christianity in Egypt: Further Observations

Birger A. Pearson

7. Philo, Origen, and the Rabbis on Divine Speech

Daniel Boyarin

8. Cannibalism and Other Family Woes in Letter 55 of Evagrius of Pontus

Robin Darling Young

9. The Successors of Pachomius and the Nag Hammadi Codices: Exegetical Themes and Literary Structures

Philip Rousseau

10. Keeping the Monastery Clean: A Cleansing Episode from an Excerpt on Abraham of Farshut and Shenoute's Discourse on Purity

James E. Goehring

11. Illuminating the Cult of Kothos: The Panegyric on Macarius and Local Religion in Fifth-Century Egypt

David Frankfurter


General Index

Index to Scripture
The Catholic University of America Press

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