Notes On the Martyrdom of John of Phanijoit (Bho 519)

in Medieval Encounters


This text, the editio princeps of which was published in 1887, has not been studied since 1901. It is the narrative of the passion and martyrdom of a certain John, a Coptic Christian who had apostasized to Islam but decided to return and, openly proclaiming his Christian faith, was executed in Cairo on a date fixed at 29 April 1211 C.E. Wherther John of Phanijoit actually existed or not, the construction of his story reflects the tensions in multi-ethnic Egyptian society under the Ayyubids and the changing nature of what it meant to be a Christian living under Muslim rule.


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