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Introduction to Coptic Studies

This course will provide an overview of the History of the Copts from political, religious, social and economic perspectives. Students will be introduced to examples of literary and documentary sources to illustrate the different aspects of the Coptic Civilization. The focus will be on the evolution of Coptic Studies as an independent field, by showing the development of new methods in documenting and studying its material culture.

Since the early waves of Coptic immigration to Canada in the late 1960’s, the Coptic Church, beside its spiritual role in the diaspora, has been the main cradle of cultural identity for the immigrants. Nowadays Coptic Studies and Coptic language are taught in an academic level in departments of Middle and Eastern Civilizations in Canada. Since the last four decades the Middle East has seen and continue to go through drastic social, religious and political shifts, hence the study of Coptic Civilization has become an attractive field to understand the dynamics behind those mutations. For students who are interested in the history of one of the ancient Christian civilizations in the Middle East, Egypt has been always at the heart of that region.

Course outcomes:

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • provide key dates, names of persons and contexts for central events in Coptic history.
  • distinguish between different genres and types of historical documents.
  • identify historically important geographical regions of Egypt holding Coptic archaeological remains.
  • The major outcome is to follow the evolution of Coptic Studies and the importance of its presence as an independent discipline.

Lecture topics:

Week 1 General Chronology of the Egyptian History (30B.C. to the end of the 18th Century)

Week 2 Who are the Copts? What is Coptology?

Week 3 History of Coptic Studies

Week 4 Christianity in Alexandria: The Establishment of the Coptic Church and its Hierarchy

Week 5 Egyptian Monasticism: Literary and Archaeological Sources

Week 6 Coptic Language and Literature

Week 7 Copto-Arabic Literature

Week 8 Coptic Art and Museology

Week 9 Coptic Archaeology

Week 10 Coptic History and Historiography

Week 11 Coptic Documentary Papyrology

Week 12 Coptic Ethnography and Anthropology

Course Schedule

Day Time Dates Total Hours
Tuesdays 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm October 5 – December 21, 2021 24 hours

Additional Information

Format: This course will be delivered online, synchronous
Course Fee: $300 + GST
Pre-requisites: None
Instructor: Dr. Ramez B. Bishara, Ph.D. – L.M.S.

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