Re-Envisioning Persecution: Imagining a Converted World

in Medieval Encounters
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This essay seeks to make a contribution to the study of persecution (which has often been dominated by the European experience) by examining the case of Coptic Christians in Fatimid Egypt: How did they perceive and imagine persecution? This case is of special interest because of the vaunted “tolerance” of the Fatimids towards non-Muslims (with the exception of the caliph al-Ḥākim). The Copts’ sense of persecution throughout this period, and their resistance to Islamization, are perceived through an examination of two texts that each represent the topos of the prominent Muslim who converts to Coptic Christianity: first, the Faṣl min Maqāla Masīḥiyya preserved in Paris bnf Ms Arabe 131, where it is understood to be the caliph al-Muʿizz’s confession of Christian faith; and next, a recension of the well-known Muqaṭṭam miracle-account that places it during the reign of the caliph al-Ḥākim, as preserved in Monastery of St. Anthony, Ms Hist. 86.

Medieval Encounters

Jewish, Christian and Muslim Culture in Confluence and Dialogue

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References

11

Griffith, The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque, 89.

12

Griffith, The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque, 89–90.

16

Griffith, The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque, 99–100.

17

Gerrit J. Reinink, “The Beginnings of Syriac Apologetic Literature in Response to Islam,” Oriens Christianus 77 (1993): 186.

32

Sanders, Ritual, Politics, and the City in Fatimid Cairo, 33.

44

Arietta Papaconstantinou, “Historiography, Hagiography, and the Making of the Coptic ‘Church of the Martyrs’ in Early Islamic Egypt,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 60 (2006): 65–86 (80).

46

Papaconstantinou, “Historiography, Hagiography, and the Making of the Coptic ‘Church of the Martyrs’ in Early Islamic Egypt,” 81.

50

David Novak, “The Treatment of Islam and Muslims in the Legal Writings of Moses Maimonides,” in Studies in Islamic and Judaic Traditions: Papers Presented at the Institute for Islamic-Judaic Studies, Center for Judaic Studies, University of Denver, ed. William M. Brinner and Stephen David Ricks, Brown Judaic Studies no. 110 (Atlanta, ga: Scholars Press, 1986), 240.

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