The Church and the Mosque in Wisdom’s Shade: on the Story of “Alexander and the Hermit Prince”

in Heirs of the Apostles

Abstract

A Copto-Arabic homily for the Third Sunday in Lent (preserved in MS Paris BnF ar. 4761, 17th cent.) is centered on an anecdote about the encounter of Alexander the Great with a prince living among the tombs. While the anecdote is known from the Arabic wisdom collections Ādāb al-falāsifa and Mukhtār al-ḥikam wa-maḥāsin al-kalim, the Coptic preacher expands upon it in such a way that it becomes a kind of interreligious encounter: Alexander preaches something very like a Christian sermon, while the Hermit Prince is portrayed as someone very like a Sufi saint.

Heirs of the Apostles

Studies on Arabic Christianity in Honor of Sidney H. Griffith

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