The Coptic Martyrdom of John of Phanijōit

Assimilation and Conversion to Islam in Thirteenth-Century Egypt


This study applies sociological and philological analysis to the extraordinary thirteenth-century Coptic Martyrdom of John of Phanijōit. Zaborowski's research explains the identity-shaping function behind this text's portrayal of an Egyptian Christian's conversion to Islam and subsequent struggle to publicly reconvert to Christianity.
The heart of this book is its edition and facing English translation of the only extant manuscript of the martyrdom. Interpretive chapters include: 1) a sociological inquiry into the narrative's depiction of Muslims; 2) a philological analysis of the Coptic language of the manuscript; and 3) an historical contextualization of the manuscript within the wider conflict between the Ayyū bids and Western Crusaders.
This book makes John of Phanijōit accessible to all scholars interested in the sociology of conversion, offering new evidence for understanding Christian-Muslim relations in Medieval Egypt.


EUR €114.00USD $143.00

Biographical Note

Jason R. Zaborowski, Ph.D. in Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures, The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC., is currently a fellow at the University's Institute of Christian Oriental Research, where he researches the History of Egyptian Christianity.

Review Quotes

"The main strength of Zaborowski's study is the eleoquent, amply annotated, English translation of the text and the interpretation of its meaning for the Coptic community." Yaacov Lev in Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 34(2008), 562-563