July 14-15, 2017
Presentations @ UCLA, Royce Hall Room 314, Los Angeles
Registration Fee (Suggested Contributions):
Click here for online registration. Registration fees to paid at the door.
Schedule: The following is the final schedule for the conference:
Friday, July 14, 2017
| 10:00-10:05 a.m.
||Opening Remarks by Prof. Kathlyn Cooney, Chair of UCLA- NELC Department|
|10:05-10:30 a.m.||Hany N. Takla, The Evolution of the Coptic Pascha Book from Manuscript to Published Book in the Coptic Church|
|10:30-11:00 a.m.||Dr. Saad Michael Saad, The Claremont Coptic Encyclopedia: History, Usage, Meaning, and Statistics|
|11:15-11:45 a.m.||Dr. Patricia Eshagh, The Contemplative Practices of the Desert Fathers|
|11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.||Ms. Mary Ghattas, Towards a Modern History of Eastern Christianity: Syrian and Armenian Communities in Egypt, 1805-Present|
|12:15-1:30 p.m.||Lunch Break|
|Dr. Lillian Larsen, Paul as Palimpsest: Pedagogical Texts and Contexts|
|Dr. Bernadette McNary-Zak, Eclipsed in Exile: In Defense of Athanasius|
|Ms. Tamara Siuda, St. Salib (Pistavros), St. Sidhom Bishay, and Coptic Martyrdom as History|
|3:15-3:45 p.m.||Prof. Dr. Sherin Sadek El Gendi, Iconography of Saint Shenute in the Coptic decoration|
|3:45-4:15 p.m.||Dr. Donald Westbrook, Re-Visiting Our Lady ofZeitoun(1968-1971): Egyptian Mariophanies in Historical, Interfaith, and Coptic Context|
|4:15-4:45 p.m.||Dr. Youhanna N. Youssef, The Vision of Benjamin Revisited|
|7:30-8:30 p.m.||Tour of the new edition of the Bible in Egypt Exhibit at the Coptic Cultural Museum of the St. Shenouda Center for Coptic Studies, located at 1494 So. Robertson Blvd, LA, CA 90035, Ste 200.|
Saturday, July 15, 2017
|9:30-10:00 a.m.||Hany N. Takla, The Journey Continues -The State of the Society 2015-2017|
|10:00-10:30 a.m.||Dr. George Ghaly, Sinai Ar. 237: A 13th Century Chalcedonian Version of the Coptic Theotokia|
|10:30-11:00 a.m.||Dr. Ramez Mikhail, A Present Absence: The Curious Role of the Patriarch in the Prothesis Rite of the Coptic Liturgy in the 15th-16th Centuries|
|11:15-11:45 a.m.||Prof. Maged S. A. Mikhail, New Perspectives on Late Coptic and Early Coptic-Arabic Texts: AD 800 – 1200|
|11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.||Prof. Gawdat Gabra, Notes on the International Congresses of Coptic Studies and the Identity of the Copts|
|12:15-1:30 p.m.||Lunch Break|
|1:30-2:00 p.m.||Prof. Rev. Tim Vivian, A Spirituality of Desire: A Meditation on the "LIFE OF PSHOI" Vis-à-vis The New Asceticism by Sarah Coakley|
|2:00-2:45 p.m.||Prof. Fr. Mark Sheridan & Dr. Jason Zaborowski, New discoveries in Coptic and Copto-Arabic Literature: Rufus of Shotep and Constantine of Assiut|
|3:00-3:30 p.m.||Dr. Lisa Agaiby, The Arabic LIFE OF ANTONY, attributed to Serapion of Thmuis|
|3:30-4:15 p.m.||Prof. Mark Swanson, Once Again on the 13th-Century Flowering of Copto-Arabic Literature (in the light of recent publications)|
Business Meeting of the Members of St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society
The Conference will be located on the Campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Royce Hall, Room 314.
Directions and Parking:
Coming from the south or from the Santa Monica Freeway:
Take the 405 N, Exit Wilshire East (Bear to the right at the exit)
Turn Right on Wilshire Blvd.
Turn Left on Westwood Ave. (the 3rd traffic light after exiting the fwy)
Turn Right on Leconte Ave
then turn Left on Hilgard Ave (the second light after turning into Le Conte
Turn Left on Westholme Drive, then turn right immediately in a driveway to the information kiosk.
Request parking in Lot #2, parking is $12 per day, Saturday $8, Handicap $5and mention that you attending the 15th St. Shenouda - UCLA Conference of Coptic Studies at Royce Hall.
The attendant at the booth can direct you to Royce Hall.
Enter in the left-most door of Royce Hall and take the elevator up to the third floor (Room #314).
Coming from the north (The San Fernando Valley):
Take the 405 S, Exit Sunset East
Turn Left on Sunset Blvd.
Turn Right on Hilgard Ave.
Turn Right on Westholme Drive, then turn right immediately in a driveway to the information kiosk.
Request parking in Lot #2, parking is $12 per day, Saturday $8, Handicap $6.
The attendant at the booth can direct you to Royce Hall as indicated above.
Enter in the left-most door of Royce Hall and take the elevator up to the third floor (Room #314).
List of Speakers (Tentative):
Title: The Arabic LIFE OF ANTONY, attributed to Serapion of Thmuis
Presenter: Dr. Lisa Agaiby
Antony the Great has had a compelling lure on the imaginations of Christians from Late Antiquity to the present day. The success of his Vita attributed to Athanasius of Alexandria, elevated Antony above his ascetic peers and established him as the ‘father of monasticism’ throughout the Christian world. The Vita is still considered the primary source for the study of Antony and his monastic environment.
However, Antony has another Vita attributed to Serapion of Thmuis that has hitherto remained overlooked and unpublished. Originally composed in Arabic around the 13th century, it quickly gained more popularity and influence in Egyptian monasteries than the Athanasian recension, and from the 14th century to the mid-20th century, it not only won widespread acceptance, but the authority of liturgical texts.
The aim of this paper is to present an overview of the key themes in the Arabic Life of Antony, and show differences between it and the Greek Life, as well as consider some of the possible reasons for the composition of the Arabic Life.
Title: Iconography of Saint Shenute in the Coptic decoration
Presenter: Prof. Dr. Sherin Sadek El Gendi
The Coptic decoration that appeared starting from the second half of the fourth century AD is full of different human figures depicting the Holy Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, the archangels, martyrs and saints. The iconography of Saint Shenute, who is one of the biggest Coptic monastic figures, is one of these interesting decorative figures. The purpose for which this volume is prepared is to study the different attitudes of the fourth-fifth century reforming abbot of the White Monastery in Sohag in Coptic art. I shall begin my discussion by a short introduction about him. Then, I shall describe his different figures in the decoration of the wall paintings within the Coptic monasteries in addition to the decoration of the Coptic objects displayed in the Coptic churches and the archaeological museums in Egypt and abroad. I’ll analyze the various decorative unites that appear sometimes around him in order to fill some of the gaps that hold up the evolution of the Coptic studies
Title: The Contemplative practices of the Desert Fathers
Presenter: Dr. Patricia Eshagh
Prayer undoubtedly was the most fundamental activity in the life of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. Textual sources such as the Apophthegmata Patrum and the Life of Antony reveal to us some of the practices they developed in their contemplative prayer life to protect themselves from sin and temptation at the hand of the wily demon. Key to the victory over demonic temptation was the ability to control one’s thoughts through the practice of hesychia and apatheia. Is there evidence for the continued practice of these techniques in contemplative circles today? How might current developments in contemplative prayer such as the Centering Prayer movement compare with the techniques of the Desert Fathers and Mothers of fourth-century Egypt? These are some of the questions that will be discussed in this paper.
Title: Notes on the International Congresses of Coptic Studies and the Identity of the Copts
Presenter: Dr. Gawdat Gabra
The artistic and the literary heritages represent two most important characteristics of civilizations and of the cultural identity of peoples. Coptic art and Coptic literature are among the most significant achievements of the Copts. To Use the term “Art of the Christian Egyptians” and avoid using the long established term *Coptic Art* is in my opinion more than a mere matter of academic terminology. Practically it means denying the present Copts an important characteristic of their identity. In my presentation this issue and other related ones will be discussed.
Title: Sinai Ar. 237: A 13th Century Chalcedonian Version of the Coptic Theotokia
Presenter: Dr. George Ghaly
This presentation examines a Chalcedonian manuscript, Sinai Ar. 237, with the Coptic Theotokia. The theotokias in the Coptic Orthodox Church are long liturgical compositions for the Theotokos, the Mother of God. These Coptic compositions are theologically specific and contain language incompatible with the Chalcedonian family of churches. Yet, there is a long history of theotokia prayers in the Chalcedonian and Non-Chalcedonian Churches with interesting borrowing techniques.
Title: Towards a Modern History of Eastern Christianity: Syrian and Armenian Communities in Egypt, 1805-Present
Presenter: Ms. Mary Ghattas
Modern Egypt attracted people of all races and religious creeds. Muhammad Ali’s vision of an Egypt molded after Europe proved to be a place of refuge and economic opportunity for the Christians of the entire region. Syrian and Armenian Christians found safety, tolerance, and even prosperity in modern Egypt. Today’s headlines prove that Egypt can no longer be called a place of refuge for Christians of the region as Islamist groups deliberately target Egypt’s own Copts in attacks. This study seeks to identify the layers of change in the Egyptian state and society while reconstructing a history of Syrian and Armenian Christian communities in Egypt. While pushing the limits of belonging, it will examine the inter-and intra-communal relationships (such as church and state, church and sister church) to elucidate the role of church as guardian of identity in Diaspora.
Title: Paul as Palimpsest: Pedagogical Texts and Contexts
Presenter: Dr. Lillian Larsen
This paper examines the place accorded Paul, ‘the Apostle’, in the literary and material record of emergent monastic school practice. In doing so, it traces the conceptual boundaries that structure monastic classroom environments in light of evidence drawn from a broader cross-section of school settings. As regulatory, artifactual, and inscriptional lines coalesce, concluding juxtapositions invite consideration of the ways in which attending to ‘the Apostle’s’ residual influence can elucidate monastic reception, and use of biblical texts, more generally.
Title: Eclipsed in Exile: In Defense of Athanasius
Presenter: Dr. Bernadette McNary-Zak
Due to fortuitous timing just prior to his third exile, Athanasius learned about, and secured copies of, two imperial letters written against him by Constantine’s son, Constantius. These letters are included in a continuation of Athanasius’ Defense before Constantius (Apologia ad Constantium). Scholars have long recognized and debated the importance of these two imperial letters. By reframing what these letters contribute to our understanding of the commencement of the archbishop’s third exile we can revisit the circumstances under which the archbishop fled his city and shift the focus of our attention to a dormant element of his episcopal career.
Title: New Perspectives on Late Coptic and Early Coptic-Arabic Texts: ad 800 – 1200
Presenter: Prof. Maged S. A. Mikhail
This paper outlines the inherent difficulties encountered when reading late Coptic hagiographic texts, the History of the Patriarchs, and early Coptic-Arabic apocalyptic literature. It then suggests new strategies that may mitigate these problems and provide new directions for research.
Title: A Present Absence: The Curious Role of the Patriarch in the Prothesis Rite of the Coptic Liturgy in the 15th-16th Centuries
Presenter: Dr. Ramez Mikhail
Among the various medieval sources of the Coptic liturgy, an interesting group in particular provide valuable information on the liturgy of the patriarch. These sources range between the 15th and 16th centuries, and include the codex Coptic Patriarchate 74 Lit. (AD 1444), the so-called Baramus Codex (AD 1514), and a chapter in Ibn Kabar's Lamp of Darkness in the codex Uppsala Or. 486 (AD 1546). Remarkable in all three sources is the liturgical role prescribed for the patriarch during the rites of preparation of the Eucharistic oblations (prothesis). Although the sources under discussion describe the patriarch remaining outside the sanctuary and not vested in his liturgical vestments throughout these initial rites, he is nonetheless to perform certain key elements of the rites before ultimately ascending to the sanctuary and vesting. This curious "present absence" of the patriarch in the introductory rites of the Coptic liturgy is highly informative regarding the gradual development of the prothesis rite from a preparatory ritual performed in one of the cathedral's adjacent rooms by deacons and priests to the public and popularly participatory ritual it is today.
Title: The Claremont Coptic Encyclopedia: History, Usage, Meaning, and Statistics
Presenter: Dr. S. Michael Saad
The Claremont Coptic Encyclopedia (CCE) knowledge base functions as the premier digital humanities tool for the world to learn more about the Copts: their church, their two millennia of human experience, their achievements and challenges, and their civilization. This paper examines the 40-year journey of the Coptic Encyclopedia, from its conception in the 1970s to a printed version in 1991, to a CD-ROM in 2002, and to a web-based internet interface in 2009. The paper will also summarize the CCE’s current plans and activities, as well as its important, transdisciplinary mission. Usage statistics for the digital/web-based CCE show the pulse of Coptic Studies, revealing which areas are of past, current, and ongoing interest. They also demonstrate the rise of scholarly activity in Coptic Studies, from an average of 20,000 views per month to a record more than 60,000 views in the months preceding both the 2012 and the 2016 International Congresses of Coptic Studies.
Title: New discoveries in Coptic and Copto-Arabic Literature: Rufus of Shotep and Constantine of Assiut
Presenter: Prof. Fr. Mark Sheridan & Dr. Jason Zaborowski
The memory of Rufus is alive and well in Shotep, as was discovered on recent visit to Shotep. A portion of one of his homilies has been preserved in manuscripts at Deir Assurian. These have been translated and published by Fr. Bigoul. An encomium of John of Lycopolis by Constantine of Assiut appears to have been translated into Arabic and is preserved in Deir Al-baramous. This was the great age of Coptic literature at the end of the sixth century when Damian was Patriarch and when bilingual bishops wrote in the classical rhetorical tradition of the Cappadocian and earlier Greek writers.
Title: St. Salib (Pistavros), St. Sidhom Bishay, and Coptic Martyrdom as History
Presenter: Ms. Tamara Siuda
This paper examines the collected martyrologies of Salib (also called by the Coptic name Pistavros) (d. November 29, 1512 - 3 Khoiak) and of Sidhom Bishay (d. March 25, 1844 - 17 Baramhat). Despite three centuries of time between the martyrs’ deaths, there are significant similarities in the martyrdom narratives. Both martyrs were Copts living under Ottoman rule in Egypt, and both were executed for blaspheming Islam: Salib was taken before the sultan for allegedly insulting the Prophet, and Sidhom Bishay was accused of cursing Islam. Both were publicly paraded before their executions, and both were subjected to burning.
Beyond the narratives, the martyrdoms of Salib and Sidhom Bishay offer important detail about Coptic life in Ottoman Egypt, and the precarious relationships between dhimmis and their Ottoman-dominated state. Additionally, both martyrdoms deftly navigate the world described by Febe Armanios as filled with the “daily burdens felt by Copts as they attempted to preserve their faith and community [and] defiance to such challenges” (Coptic Christianity in Ottoman Egypt p. 55).
Title: Once Again on the 13th-Century Flowering of Copto-Arabic Literature (in the light of recent publications)
Presenter: Prof. Mark Swanson
This paper will begin by elaborating upon comments I made last year at the Claremont Congress, describing exciting developments in the study of the Copto-Arabic literature of its 13th-century "Renaissance" (or even "Golden Age"). The new research makes ever more plain what an intellectually creative body of literature this is -- marked both by a deep love of the specifically Coptic tradition and by ecumenical and even inter-religious openness.
Much recent research has focused on the ecumenical and inter-religious dimensions of the 13th-century Copto-Arabic literature. However, the deep love of the specifically Coptic tradition is also very clear and may be illustrated by publications that have appeared since the Congress. Here I will introduce one publication in particular: the edition by Bishop Epiphanios (of the Monastery of St. Macarios) of the Edifying Biographies translated by al-qiss Butrus al-Sadamanti (Cairo: Dar Majallat Marqus, 2016). This set of translations of three saints' lives has not (to the best of my knowledge) been previously published; indeed, it has largely been ignored by scholarship. Thanks to Bishop Epiphanios's edition, we are in a position conveniently to describe this set of saints' lives, and to assess its place in the wider 13th-century corpus.
Title: The Evolution of the Coptic Pascha Book from Manuscript to Published Book in the Coptic Church
Presenter: Mr. Hany N. Takla
The Pascha book is probably the only major liturgical lectionary that we have documentation on its 12th century origin in direct manuscript evidence as well as ancient literary sources. Its initial composition under the direction of Patriarch Gabriel II ibn Turaik (1131-1145) was first mentioned by the 13th-14th century Coptic, Abu al-Barakat Ibn Kabar in his encyclopedic work, Misbah al-Zulmah fi Idah al-Khidmah. Another trilingual-lingual poem in an early 17th century manuscript copy of this lectionary reiterated this attribution in addition to mentioning the shortly-after revision to the overall format of the lectionary by a certain bishop Peter of Behnassa.This paper will give an overview of its contents and transmission history in the manuscript tradition as well as the modern published tradition in the Coptic Church. I will also share some observations on its rather delay in publishing it in book format as compared to other lectionaries in the Coptic Church.
Title: A Spirituality of Desire: A Meditation on the Life of Pshoi Vis-à-vis The New Asceticism by Sarah Coakley
Presenter: Prof. Rev. Tim Vivian
The word “love” occurs twenty-seven times in the Life of Pshoi; the word “lover” appears eleven times. It may surprise most readers that éros, usually thought of as erotic love, outnumbers agápe, “warm regard for and interest in another,” fourteen to nine. As I was working on a revision and transcription of the Greek Life of Pshoi, I happened to be reading The New Asceticism by Sarah Coakley and I quickly realized that although she doesn’t work directly with early monastic texts, Coakley nevertheless offers a fresh perspective on early monastic asceticism and its spirituality of desire. In this paper, I will offer a summary of and reflection on Coakley’s ascetic exegesis and its contemporary importance, and then apply her perspective and insights with my own to the Life of Pshoi.
Title: Re-Visiting Our Lady of Zeitoun (1968-1971): Egyptian Mariophanies in Historical, Interfaith, and Coptic Context
Presenter: Dr. Donald Westbrook
This paper situates the mass mariophanies reported at Zeitoun (Cairo), Egypt, from 1968 to 1971 in their historical, political, interfaith, and ecumenical contexts. The series of luminous apparitions above St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church were first observed by nearby Muslim transit workers. Soon after, the site attracted tens of thousands of Christian and Muslim pilgrims, many of whom likewise observed bright light in the form of the Virgin Mary in addition to other manifestations, such as dove-shaped lights hovering above or near the church. Miraculous healings were also reported. The Zeitoun apparitions serve as a unique instance within Coptic studies, and the broader study of Marian apparitions, by providing a non-Catholic example that took place within a Muslim-majority nation over a span of nearly three years. Moreover, full contextualization of the events in Zeitoun requires interdisciplinary attention that spans Coptic Studies, Marian Apparitions Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Islamic Studies; as such, Zeitoun invites further and fuller examination in the secondary literature ahead of the fiftieth anniversary of the apparitions.
Title: The Vision of Benjamin Revisited
Presenter: Dr. Youhanna N. Youssef
Benjamin is one of the most prominent figures in Coptic history. His tenure withstood one of Egypt’s most turbulent ages: he witnessed the Persian occupation, ten years of Chalcedonian persecution under the Byzantine king Heraclius, and the early years of the Arab Conquest. But despite his importance and long tenure, little is known about him. Most biographical sketches are primarily based upon the biography included in the History of the Patriarchs, and only fragments of his writings have survived. The sources of the life of Benjamin:
Some fragments published by Amelineau and C. Detlef Muller
Some stories in the book of the forty biographies.
Some stories in the life of Samuel of Kalamun
The consecration of the Church of Saint Macarius in Scetis by Benjamin is a landmark in the history of Christianity in Egypt
C. Detlef G. Müller, Die Homilie über die Hochzeit zu Kana und weitere Schriften des Patriarchen Benjamin I von Alexandrien (Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, 1968), 9: For a synopsis of the life of Benjamin see C. Detlef G. Müller, “Benjamin I” in Coptic Encyclopedia, 2: 375-77; and “Benjamin I., 38. Patriarch von Alexandrien,” Le Muséon 69 (1956), 53-72.
B. Evett’s, trans., History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church of Alexandria: Peter I to Benjamin I (661). Patrologia Orientalis 1 fasc. 4, Paris: Firimin-Didot, 1948, p. 488. C.F. Seybold, Severus ibn al-Muqaffa’ Alexandrinische Patriarchengeschichte von Marcus bi Michael I nach der ältesten 1266 geschrieben Hamburger Handschrift Stadtbibliothek, Veröffentichungen aus der Hamburger Stadtbibliothek Bd. 3, Hamburg 1912, p. 104-110.
R.G. Coquin, "Le synaxaire des Coptes, un nouveau témoin de la récension de la Haute Egypte" Analecta Bollandiana 96, (1977)351-365. G. Colin, "Le Synaxaire Ethiopien: Etat actuel de la question" Analecta Bollandiana 106, (1988) 273-317.
I. Forget, Synaxarium Alexandrinum I, Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium 47-48-49, Louvain 1936, p.198-200.
E. Amélineau, “Fragments Coptes pour servir à l’histoire de l’a conquête de l’Égypte par les Arabes” Journal Asiatique 12 série 8, (1888) 370-375.
C. Detlef G. Müller, “Benjamin I., 38. Patriarch von Alexandrien,” Le Muséon 69 (1956), 53-72, Id., “Neues uber Benjamin I, 38. und Agathon 39 Patriarchen von Alexandrien” Le Muséon 72 (1959) 313-340.
For this book cf. G. Graf, Geschichte der Christlichen Arabischen Lieratur, ST 118, Città del Vaticano 1944, p. 385-386. only a popular edition of this important work is published by Anba Samuel, Kitab al-Arba’ûn Khabar (The book of the Forty biographies) Cairo 1999, p.12-20, p. 62-69.
A. Alcock, The life of Samuel of Kalamun by Isaac the presbyter, Wrminster 1983, p.79:40-45.
For a summary of this account cf. H. Evelyn White, The Monasteries of the Wadi ‘N Natrun, Part II, The History of the Monasteries of Nitria and of Scetis, New York 1932, reprint Arno Press 1973, p.271-274.
Prepared by Hany N. Takla, July 11, 2017
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