Common Wisdom: Luqman the Wise in a Collection of Coptic Orthodox Homilies. - Currents in Theology and Mission

Common Wisdom: Luqman the Wise in a Collection of Coptic Orthodox Homilies.

By Currents in Theology and Mission

  • Release Date: 2006-06-01
  • Genre: Politics & Current Events
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Common Wisdom: Luqman the Wise in a Collection of Coptic Orthodox Homilies. by Currents in Theology and Mission read book description and reviews

In the summer of 2004 I was invited by the organizers of the conference "The Life and Times of St. Shenouda the Archimandrite" (1) to investigate collections of Arabic homilies attributed to this great monastic leader, for many years (c. 385-465) (2) the spiritual head of the White Monastery federation at Atripe, across the Nile from the ancient city of Akhmim (= Shmin, Panopolis). The first collection to which I turned my attention consisted in nine homilies for the seven Sundays of Lent, concluding with Palm Sunday, (3) preserved in a seventeenth-century manuscript that had once been in the library of the White Monastery, now preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris as ms. arabe 4761. (4) It quickly became clear to me that the homilies preserved in this manuscript were not translations from Coptic originals, as one would expect were the attribution to St. Shenoute (5) correct, but original Arabic-language compositions. I was not particularly surprised by this result, but I was surprised to discover that the homilies were not merely exercises in biblical exegesis (although biblical quotations and allusions abound) or in the use of the "language of Zion" (that is, specifically churchly discourse). Rather, the preacher, a Coptic Christian probably active sometime between the fourteenth and the seventeenth centuries, also drew from a store of edifying tales and wisdom literature that was shared by Christians and Muslims.
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