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In: Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt
In: Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt
In: Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt
In: Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt


Scholars interested in the continuing vitality or decline of traditional religion in the late antique Mediterranean world often find themselves dependent on hagiographical texts, which inevitably depict traditional heathenism as a foil to their Christian heroes and thus cannot be used as simple documentation for historical realia. This paper proposes ways of drawing historical evidence for real, continuing local religion from hagiographical texts from late antique Egypt. After a discussion of the specific ways in which hagiography imposes literary and biblical themes on its representation of traditional religious practices, two points of authentic memory are presented: topographical traditions and traditions about expressive gesture. In contrast, the hagiographical image of the Egyptian priest, for example, carries little historical authenticity. A concluding section of the paper defends and outlines the use of anthropological models for the historical interpretation of hagiography.

In: Church History and Religious Culture
In: Envisioning Magic
This volume deals with the origins and rise of Christian pilgrimage cults in late antique Egypt. Part One covers the major theoretical issues in the study of Coptic pilgrimage, such as sacred landscape and shrines' catchment areas, while Part Two examines native Egyptian and Egyptian Jewish pilgrimage practices. Part Three investigates six major shrines, from Philae's diverse non-Christian devotees to the great pilgrim center of Abu Mina and a Thecla shrine on its route. Part Four looks at such diverse pilgrims' rites as oracles, chant, and stational liturgy, while Part Five brings in Athanasius's and an anonymous hagiographer's perspectives on pilgrimage in Egypt. The volume includes illustrations of the Abu Mina site, pilgrims' ampules from the Thecla shrine, as well as several maps.
In: Mantikê
In: Magic and Ritual in the Ancient World