St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society

Tenth St. Shenouda Conference of Coptic Studies Registration Form

July 18-19, 2008

Presentations @ UCLA, Royce Hall Room 314, Los Angeles California 90024


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Schedule: The following is a tentative schedule for the conference:

Friday, July 18, 2008

8:30-10:00 a.m. Registration
10:00-10:05 a.m. Opening Remarks by Prof. Elizabeth Carter (UCLA - NELC Chairman)
10:05-10:11 a.m. Dr. Youhanna Nessim Youssef, The Miracle of Ibn Zara'a in the Coptic Tradition: Texts and Icons
10:30-11:00 a.m. Martha Ayoub, Alpha and Omega Educational Program: Knowing the Coptic Orthodox Church in Three Years
11:00-11:15 a.m.
11:15-11:45 a.m.
Courtney Morris, The ‘I-Thou’ of the Desert Fathers’ Religious Ethos for the Global Village
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Deanna Heikkinen/ Prof. Robert Yohe II, Coptic Burial Practices from the Third through Sixth Centuries in Middle Egypt
12:15-1:15 p.m. Lunch Break
1:15-2:00 p.m.   Prof. James Robinson, The Discovery of the Pachomian Monastery Library near Faw Qibli (the Bodmer Papyri)
2:00-2:30 p.m.

Dr. Anne Moore, Anna, Mother of Mary, within the Infancy Gospel Literature

2:30-2:45 p.m. Break
2:45-3:15 p.m. Prof. Boulos Ayad Ayad, A Comparative Study Between the Religious Buildings of the Ancient Middle East
3:15-3:45 p.m. Carolyn Ludwig, Following the Path, The Story of Making a book, "The Churches of Egypt"
3:45-4:00 p.m. Break
4:00-4:30 p.m. Armida Byler, Exploring Liminality in the Pachomian Koinonia
4:30-4:45 p.m.

Prof. Boulos Ayad Ayad, The Coptic Orthodox Church in Nubia and Sudan

4:45-5:15 p.m.

Patricia Eshagh, The Dispersion of Coptic Monasticism to Western Europe (Doctral Dissertation Resume)

7:00-8:00 p.m. Tour of the Coptic Library and Coptic artifacts at the St. Shenouda Center for Coptic Studies, located at 1494 So. Robertson Blvd, LA, CA 90035, Ste 102, 204.

Saturday, July 19, 2007

8:30-9:30 a.m. Registration
9:30-10:00 a.m. Idi Okilo, Contributions of the Church of England to the Copts: Reverend Henry Tattam and the Coptic Scriptures 1826-1852
10:00-10:30 a.m.

Dr. Monica Bontty, The Irish Debt to Egypt or How the Copts Helped Irish Monks Save Civilization

10:30-10:45 a.m.
10:45 a.m.-11:15 a.m. Antonia Kovachev, Coptic Studies in Eastern Europe.
11:15 a.m.-11:45 a.m. Dr. Sergei Plekhenov, Church-State Relations: Comparing the Coptic and Russian Experiences
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.   Joseph Sanzo, Reflections on the Use of Scripture in P.Berlin 954
12:15-1:15 p.m.
Lunch Recess  
1:15-1:45 p.m. A. Josiah Chappell, The Coptic Versions of Daniel
1:45-2:15 p.m. Mark Moussa, Shenoute on Priests and Clerical Irregularities in Selected Texts from Discourses 5 and 8
2:15-2:45 p.m. Break
2:45-3:15 p.m. Dr. Maged S. A. Mikhail, Marriage in Late Antique and Early Islamic Egypt: The Evidence from the Encomium on Demetrius of Alexandria
3:15-3:45 p.m. Prof. Mark Swanson, The Coptic Orthodox Patriarchs of the Mamluk Period: Historio-graphical Challenges
3:45-4:15 p.m. Dr. S. Michael Saad, The Progress of Coptic Studies in Southern California
4:15-5:00 p.m.

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 booth.
Request parking in Lot #2, parking is $9 per day and mention that you attending the St Shenouda Coptic Conference 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 booth.
Request parking in Lot #2, parking is $9 per day.
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).


Preliminary List of Speakers:


Title: A Comparative Study Between the Religious Buildings of the Ancient Middle East from Outside and Inside and the Coptic Church

Presenter: Prof. Boulos Ayad Ayad (University of Colorado)


The temples of Ancient Egypt were divided into two types, religious and funerary. The religious temples were dedicated to worshipping their deities and divided into different sections.

The religious temples of the Ancient Israelites included the Tabernacle, the Solomon Temple, Zurrababel Temple, and then the Herod Temple. These religious temples were divided internally into three sections. Outside there was a large court that included a bronze "sea" and the altar of sacrifices.

The ancient Israelites also established the monastery of Qumran, synagogues, and other temples outside Jerusalem.

Beginning in the first century AD, the Coptic Christians in Egypt started to build churches. However because of the Roman persecution of the Copts, many of the temples and some of their tombs were changed into churches.

The main parts of the Coptic Church could be described as follows: the narthex, the nave, the chancel and then the sanctuary. In the narthex of some of the ancient churches, there I a tank (basin) sunk in the floor that was used for the blessing of the water. The nave is divided into three parts, one for women, the second for men and the women, and the third for the "Mandatum" basin. Within the nave there is the Ambon or pulpit. At the east end of the nave there is the chancel or choir, then the sanctuary or haikal, which is separated from the rest of the church by a wooden screen with a door in its center. The sanctuary is divided into three chapels, the main one being with an altar. At the upper end of the northern isle usually there is the baptistery.

A comparative study related to the similarities and differences between these religious buildings will take place. 


Title: The Coptic Orthodox Church in Nubia and Sudan

Presenter:  Prof. Boulos Ayad Ayad, (Boulder, Colorado)


Nubia and Sudan had a strong relationaship with Egypt throughout all periods, beginning with the Archaic Age and the Old Kingdom until the Modern time. With the expansion of Christianity in Egypt, it started to spread in Nubia beginning in the 2nd and 3rd century AD. Most of the Nubian population gradually adopted Christianity. By the 6th century, Christianity spread in Upper Nubia. More than 400 churches and monasteries were built by Christians over there. Most of these churches continued to exist until the 16th century.

During the Christian period, the kings of Nubia at times supported the popes of Alexandria and tried to stop the persecution by the Muslim Arabs and their interference in the affairs of the heads of the Coptic Church of Egypt.

With the Arab conquest of Egypt, Islam spread in Nubia, particularily from the beginning of the 14th century. The majority of the population of Nubia in Modern times became Moslem. The main reason for this development is the Muslim governors of Egypt restricted the Coptic bishops and priests from traveling to Nubia and Sudan to continue their service among the people of the south.


Title: Alpha and Omega Educational Program: Knowing the Coptic Orthodox Church in Three Years

Presenter: Mrs. Martha Ayoub (Claremont School of Theology, California)


Education is a unique phenomenon that specifies the humankind. Simply it is passing knowledge and skills to the others. So it is consider the main motive for the humankind’s evolution and development. Christian education methodology can be found in six paradigms: family, tradition, personhood, the church, community, and Nature/Earth. In education there are three forms of curricula: Explicit, Implicit  Null curriculum. Jesus Christ established the Christian Education 2000 years ago; Considering Him as a role model in his way of education, we find that He used both the Explicit and Implicit forms of curricula in His teaching.

The Alpha and Omega is an educational program that provides a framework to develop a comprehensive educational curriculum within. It is designed for three successive years; age (11-14). The Alpha and Omega program is built on the seasons and feasts of the Coptic Orthodox Church using the Coptic calendar that stars September 11. The year is divided into four quarters and will have the same sequence in the three years. (1) Preparation for Nativity (Nayrouz to Christmas), Lessons are chosen from the Old Testament. (2) Living with Jesus Christ (Christmas to Easter), Lessons are chosen from the four Gospels. (3) Resurrection and Pentecost (Easter to the Apostles Feast), Lessons are chosen from the book of Acts and the Epistles. (4) Establishing the Church of God (Apostles Feast to Nayrouz), Lessons are chosen from Coptic Church history, tradition, doctrine, and rituals.


Title: The Irish Debt to Egypt or How the Copts Helped Irish Monks Save Civilization

Presenter: Dr. Monica Bontty (University of Louisiana, Monroe)


In 1995 Thomas Cahill wrote a highly successful book “How the Irish Saved Civilization,” highlighting Ireland ’s vital role in the preservation of Classical texts and transmission learning to continental Europe. Cahill’s book was soon followed by an equally acclaimed series on PBS that revealed how monasticism spread throughout England and Europe . By reintroducing learning, bookmaking and Greek/Latin manuscripts, Cahill claims that Irish monks reintroduced literacy to the cultural backwater known as Medieval Europe and subsequently saved “civilization.” There is no doubt that the Irish monks played an important role in the exchange and preservation of ideas during the Middle Ages.  However, no civilization exists in isolation but is instead subject to outside pressures. Therefore this paper emphasizes the Coptic roots responsible for the blossoming of Irish monastic culture that preserved learning and reawakened culture in Western Europe following the Dark Ages.

T. Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization. The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, New York . 1995.


Title: Exploring Liminality in the Pachomian Koinonia

Presenter: Ms. Armida Byler (California State University, Bakersfield)


Monasticism is one of the most important contributions the Coptic community has made to the rest of the world.  In late antiquity Egypt, many people sought to follow the word of Christ by renouncing the world and going into the desert.  There were different ways people expressed their spirituality.  One of these was to live in a community (or Koinonia) of brothers, like that of Pachomius, founder of cenobitic monasticism.  Because Pachomius and his rule hold great importance in the development of Christianity and monasticism within it, it is important to attempt an understanding of it through all lenses of study.  One of these lenses is that of Anthropology/Ethnography, specifically the study of ritual as proposed by Arnold van Gennep and expanded upon by Victor Turner.  Arnold van Gennep proposes the idea of dividing ritual into three phases: pre-liminal (separation from community), liminal (transformation), and post-liminal (reintergration into community).  One can take the Pachomian Koinonia and explore the liminal aspects of a monk’s life through the lens of van Gennep.  While exploring a subject like that the Pachomian Koinonia, it is important to keep in mind a humanistic approach in addition to theories of religion.  In other words, we have to be careful no to fall into the traps of reductionism by taking the human experience out of the equation.  This is more important in this topic of monasticism since it deals with people’s spirituality.  Although theories can reduce human experiences down to just words, it is one of the few options we have in trying to understand a subject of study.  It gives the language necessary to broaden our views on any specific topic. 


Title: The Coptic Versions of Daniel

Presenter: Mr. A. Josiah Chappell (UCLA, California)


Like many parts of the Old Testament translated from the Greek into Coptic, the nature and scope of the Coptic book of Daniel has yet to receive the attention this unusual text deserves. A survey of past research finds a number of 19th century editions of manuscripts and a few studies utilizing the material, yet nearly a century has passed without further major developments. Nevertheless, the piecemeal evidence from multiple manuscripts demonstrates that the book was translated into multiple dialects, most notably Sahidic (now fragmentary) and Bohairic (complete). Future efforts will include the collection and recomposition of the coptic versions of Daniel in a parallel, synoptic edition alongside the Greek. This is turn will hopefully allow the manifold material to be more easily compared and studied, filling in a key piece in the overall textual history of the book of Daniel. 


Title: The Dispersion of Coptic Monasticism to Western Europe (Doctral Dissertation Resume)

Presenter: Ms. Patricia Eshagh (Claremont Graduate University)


This dissertation will provide a comprehensive look at how Coptic monastic culture influenced the formation of monasteries in Western Europe. It will trace the movement of Coptic monasticism from the fourth century Egyptian desert to such locations as Iberia and Gaul. It will examine the economical and ecclesiastical conditions which contributed to the dispersion of monasticism to the Continent as well as the resulting impact of Coptic monasticism on Western monastic communities.


Title: Coptic Burial Practices from the Third through Sixth Centuries in Middle Egypt

Presenter: Ms. Deanna Heikkinen (Bakersfield College), Prof. Robert M. Yohe II (California State University, Bakersfield)


Investigations at the site of Tell El-Hibeh were reinitiated in 2000 by the University of California, Berkeley under the direction of Dr. Carol Redmount. This site, known as Teudjoi during the dynastic periods and Ankyronpolis in the Ptolemaic period, is best known for yielding many important papyrus documents, including the Petition of Peteese and the Tale of Wenamun.  The site, approximately 160 km. south of Cairo, is also recognized for a small temple honoring the god Amon erected during the 22nd Dynasty by the pharaoh Sheshonq I. The initial occupation of the site was during the Third Intermediate Period and continued through the Byzantine/Coptic Period (A.D. 395 to A.D. 641).  Towards the north end of the site, outside a large mud-brick gate, lies an area called the North Gate Looter Pit (NGLP), believed to be the result of an earlier excavation, possibly looting activity.  Upon examination of NGLP in 2003, there appeared to be Late Roman or Byzantine mummies eroding out of the sidewalls of this immense pit.  Subsequent excavations at NGLP during the next four field seasons yielded a total of nine-plus mummies and a defined cemetery area just adjacent to the city wall and gate.  These remains are similar in external treatment to Coptic burials unearthed at Karara 60 km. south of Hibeh by the University of Heidelberg in 1914.  A preliminary examination of two of these mummies was undertaken providing important data regarding the methods of soft-tissue preservation practiced by early Christians, including the packing of the body in large quantities of natron prior to wrapping of the body for burial. Textile analysis along with recently obtained radiocarbon dates have provided further illumination on this Byzantine/Coptic burial feature.


Title: Coptic Studies in Eastern Europe

Presenter: Ms. Antonia Kovachev (UCLA, California)


This paper deals with Coptic studies conducted in the Eastern bloc of Europe, in what was known as the Communist bloc countries, with the exception of the Soviet Union, including present day Russia.  The countries which have been researched are Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia.  It will deal with three time periods – pre–communism, communism, and post–communism.  This paper is going to analyze and discuss in general terms the characteristics of the work that was done during these three periods. In particular the countries of Hungray, Poland, and East Germany will be dealt with in more details as they exhibited the highest concentration of works and publications in this field.


Title: Following the Path, The Story of Making a book, "The Churches of Egypt"

Presenter: Mrs. Carolyn Ludwig (Los Angeles, California)


The paper will be a personal journal of memories and some of the mechanics of the creation of a book from beginning to end


Title: The ‘I-Thou’ of the Desert Fathers’ Religious Ethos for the Global Village

Presenter: Courtney A. Morris (California State University, Bakersfield)


A major criticism constantly laid against Christian monasticism is that it is too internalized, inner concerned, individualistic, isolationist and egocentric. Certain religious people and scholars claim that monasticism teaches the individual to look inside, worry about the self, and forget loving the neighbor. For these critics monasticism tells the brother to forsake his neighbor. Such criticism is very narrow and doesn’t take into mind the amount of work the monks poured into developing their ability of interacting with God and individuals on a deeper more interconnected level. Through this paper a comparison of Martin Buber’s I-Thou philosophy and the Desert Father’s withdraw into the desert develops. The comparison yields deep insight into the truly humanizing and expansive attitudes of early desert Monks. Monasticism shares a deep commonality with Martin Buber’s understanding of the I-Thou relationship. Both the Desert Fathers and Martin Buber seek a way to connect with God and other individuals on a deeper more elemental way in which humanity gives up judgment and attachment for realization in response to the way of the world. Elements of Buber’s I-thou philosophy such as the It realm and the Thou realm, narrow ridge, and valuing of compassion, non-judging, and mutuality insightfully bring out the dimensions of inner struggle and striving of early desert Monks in society, relational ethics and God/human relation. In addition, the comparison clarifies and concretizes monastic elements such as hesychia, apatheia, renunciation, withdraw and the Christian virtues of voluntary poverty, brotherly love, and non-judgment into a path for salvation that reveals the early Monks concern and care for humankind and society.  Further, utilizing L.R. Kurtz’s social functions of religious ethos, the renunciation and withdraw of the early desert monks exposes a revolutionary aspect of care for society that presents expansive aspect of monasticism that quells the criticisms of geocentricism and self-concern by showing monasticism’s implications for the global village.



Title: Marriage in Late Antique and Early Islamic Egypt: The Evidence from the Encomium on Demetrius of Alexandria

Presenter: Dr. Maged S. A. Mikhail (California State University, Fullerton)


This paper contextualizes and interprets the overlooked nuptial proceedings detailed in the Coptic Encomium on Demetrius of Alexandria by (Pseudo-)Flavian of Antioch, which may prove central to the dating of the document. Three propositions are forwarded. The initial thesis argues that while details in the account are irreconcilable with late antique norms, they are best contextualized under early Islamic rule. Thus, the extant version of the text can not date to the patristic era but should be delegated to the early Islamic period. Subsequently, two features of the account are highlighted. The first focuses on the academic discussion of “spiritual” marriage in late antiquity, while the second demonstrates a reversal in the structural meaning of the matrimonial rite as evidenced in late antique and later sources. Finally, this paper will address the manner in which the pertinent segment of the encomium has been transmitted in the primitive and vulgate recensions of the Arabic History of the Patriarchs.  


Title: Anna, Mother of Mary, within the Infancy Gospel Literature

Presenter: Dr. Anne Moore (University of Calgary, Canada)


The Protevangelium of James forms the foundation for the Coptic Church’s understanding of the figure of Anna.  The Protevangelium was familiar to Origen, who mentions the document as the “Book of James.” Elements of the narrative are also found in various Coptic discourses on Mary Theotokos attributed to Cyril Archbishop of Jerusalem, Demetrius, Archbishop of Antioch, and Apa Epiphanus. Two Sahidic fragments of the 10th and 11th centuries generally follow the plotline of Protevangelium.

The storytelling of the Protevangelium and the Sahidic fragments presents a formidable woman, whose actions are pivotal in the development of the story.  The story’s characterization of Anna through the presentation of her thoughts, actions, speech, and interaction with other characters reveals her central role in the denouement of the plot. There is a prominent female agency in the birth narrative of Mary. This focus on the female agency begins with Anna’s demand for a child, based on her understanding of God’s justice and her family’s demonstrative obedience, and it continues with Anna’s decisions and actions that protect Mary’s status. Further, Anna’s barrenness and subsequent fertility become major points for the expression of individual emotion that may reflect a woman’s point of view, or may provide an opportunity for female readers to relate with the figure of Anna. This narrative presentation of Anna may have implications for understanding the development of a cult around the figure of Anna, mother of the Virgin Mary, in terms of both popular religiosity and authoritative church views.


Title: Shenoute on Priests and Clerical Irregularities in Selected Texts from Discourses 5 and 8

Presenter: Mr. Mark R. Moussa (Catholic University of America, D.C.)


Primarily based on evidence from his publicly addressed works, Shenoute on a number of occasions discussed abnormalities among the clerical ranks, including irregular ordinations, abuse of the eucharist, and non-orthodox teachings. What gave Shenoute the impetus to police priests' actions? What were the circumstances that caused an abbot to use such high-handed tactics to publicly criticize how clergy handled their office? This paper focuses on answering these questions and how Shenoute attempted to regulate practice and duty among priests in the Panopolitan region near his White Monastery community.


Title: Contributions of the Church of England to the Copts: Reverend Henry Tattam and the Coptic Scriptures 1826-1852

Presenter: Ms. Idi Okilo (California State University, Los Angeles)


The career of Reverend Henry Tattam (1788-1868) of the Church of England in connection to the Coptic Scriptures was a career ignited by his quest to see the entire Coptic Scriptures in print. His quest, carried out in an era when the Church of England was deeply involved with the Copts, is captured in his correspondences (1836-1848) with the Archbishop of Canterbury and published under the title of Christianity in Egypt. This paper examines these fifty-three correspondences, divides them into Four Themes and focuses specifically on the First Theme of Tattam’s works in connection with the Coptic Scriptures. It establishes the people involved (the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Patriarch Peter the VII and Tattam’s colleagues), recounts Tattam’s efforts and travels through parts of Europe and Egypt, the resulting Coptic Scriptures, and discusses his motivations. This paper concludes that although Tattam’s quest to see the entire Coptic Scriptures ended without fruition, it lead to a moment in history in which the Church of England aided the Copts without imposing its ideology and forged relations involving both Church leaders that resulted in a mutually beneficial outcome: more of the Coptic Scriptures in print.


Title: Church-State Relations: Comparing the Coptic and Russian Experiences

Presenter: Dr. Sergei Plekhnov (York University, Canada)


Comparing patterns of church-state relations in the histories of Coptic and Russian Orthodox churches is, at one level, a study of polar opposites. For most of their history, Egyptian Christians have lived under the power of states either hostile to, or barely tolerant of, the Coptic faith. In Russian history, the Byzantine principle of symphonia between secular and ecclesiastic authorities has been regarded as the norm, while estrangement of believers from the state and their persecution by it in the period of Communist rule was a temporary exception. Given such a major difference between the two historical experiences, can we identify similarities between them, relevant to the political challenges faced by Christians in the 21st century?


Title: The Discovery of the Pachomian Monastery Library near Faw Qibli (the Bodmer Papyri)

Presenter: Prof. James M. Robinson (Claremont, California)


While investigating the site of the discovery of the Nag Hammadi codices, I asked priests in the Pachomian monasteries nearby if they knew who had gotten any of the manuscripts from Muhammadi Ali, the Muslim discover of the Nag Hammadi codices. They told me a priest at Dishna had acquired some. I went to Dishna and interviewed his widow and others there, and tracked down the leads they gave me to an antiquities dealer in Alexandria, and from there to the Bodmer Library near Geneva. Then I was able to identify several other libraries where some of the material from the same discovery had been acquired, especially the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin. When I examined these documents in Geneva and Dublin, I found that they were not part of the Nag Hammadi Codices, but came from a completely different discovery, which had been made not far away, near Faw Quibli, and only a few years later. Among them were letters from St. Pachomius, founder of the Pachomian Monastic Order early in the Fourth Century. In this way I was able to identify the discovery as that of the Library of the Pachomian Order, buried for safekeeping several centuries later. I met the discoverer and other middlemen in the transactions, and got their first-hand reports. The most valuable of the manuscripts, the earliest copies of the Gospels of Luke and John, was recently sold by the Bodmer Library to the Vatican Library for several million dollars.


Title: The St. Shenouda Society Efforts in Promoting Coptic Studies in Southern California

Presenter: Dr. Saad Michael Saad (SSACS, California)


Establishing academic chairs in Coptic Studies in American universities remains a primary goal of St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society (SSACS). Toward that goal the following successful steps have been taken:

A visiting professorship in Coptic Studies at the School of Religion of the Claremont Graduate University started in January 2007. It has been successful especially in attracting students to write MA and PhD theses in this field of study.  SSACS raised the necessary funds to finance this visiting professorship in the '07 and '08 calendar years and intends to extend its support for the '09 and '10 years.

SSACS in cooperation with the  UCLA's Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures has provided a grant to facilitate in part the hiring of an outside lecturer to teach two course of Coptic, one at each of the Winter and Spring of 2008. These level I and II classes were successful in attracting a large number of graduate and undergraduate students from diverse academic fields.



Title: Reflections on the Use of Scripture in P.Berlin 954

Presenter: Mr. Joe Sanzo (UCLA)


In P. Berlin 954, a sixth century apotropaic amulet from Herakleopolis (Egypt), the author (Silvanus) makes use of the New Testament for protection. Silvanus quotes Matthew 4:23, Matthew 6:9-14 (The Lord’s Prayer) and the introductory phrases of the gospels of John and Matthew. In addition to providing an up-to-date translation of this text (see below), it is the purpose of this paper to uncover how Silvanus uses these texts for apotropaic protection. Placing P. Berlin 954 in the pragmatic context out of which it arises, I argue that Silvanus is part of a larger tradition in which Scripture is used as one of many strategies for mediating transcendent power. This identification, however, must be pressed further. Thus, I have identified two sub-strategies which were employed by Silvanus in order to achieve his aim. The structure of my paper reflects my treatment of these two sub-strategies.

In section one I discuss Silvanus’ use of the Lord’s Prayer which in turn corresponds to the first sub-strategy: increasing the relevancy of a biblical passage. In this portion of my paper I note the particular locations in which Silvanus has modified the Greek text of the Lord’s Prayer. Two of these modifications directly reflect his concerns and point to an apotropaic context of health.

In section two I discuss the use of the Gospel incipits (i.e., John 1:1 and Matthew 1:1) in P. Berlin 954. Silvanus’ quotation of these two texts points to the second and final Scriptural sub-strategy utilized in this text: the metonymical quotation of Scripture (i.e., the quotation of a portion of a text for the entire text). By implementing this sub-strategy, Silvanus is able to acquire the power inherent in the whole of each Gospel in spite of the space constraints of a single sheet of papyrus.


Title: The Coptic Orthodox Patriarchs of the Mamluk Period: Historiographical Challenges

Presenter: Prof. Mark Swanson (Chicago, Illinois)


How does one go about studying the history of the patriarchs of the Mamluk period – for whom *The History of the Patriarchs*, for the most part, only provides the briefest of entries?  One or more case studies will be presented


Title: The Miracle of Ibn-Zara'a in the Coptic Tradition – Texts & Icons

Presenter:  Dr. Youhanna N. Youssef, (Melbourne, Australia)


In this paper the Author will attempt to investigate the origin of the icon of the Patriarch Abraham Ibn Zara’a preserved in the Church of Virgin Mary known as al-Muallaqah.

The different versions of the miracle from Eastern and Western sources are examined in addtition to some Coptic liturgical texts.


Prepared by Hany N. Takla, July 16, 2008

For more information contact: