|Born||17 December 1957|
|Occupation||Coptologist, historian of religion|
|Awards||Prix Eugène Goblet d'Alviella|
Christian Cannuyer teaches ancient Near Eastern religions, Christian church history, and Coptic language at the Theological Faculty of Lille Catholic University. He has published a number of books, including a volume on the Copts - Les Coptes (1990, collection "Fils d'Abraham"), which won the 1991 Eugène Goblet d'Alviella Prize in the History of Religions of the Royal Academy of Belgium; a lavishly illustrated pocket book for the collection "Découvertes Gallimard" - L'Égypte copte, les chrétiens du Nil (2000), which is only available in English and French. He has also authored many articles, such as Akhénaton, précurseur du monothéisme ?, Histoire de la Nubie chrétienne, et cetera.
Cannuyer is editor of the "Fils d'Abraham" collection at Brepols, published in collaboration with the Centre Informatique et Bible of the Maredsous Abbey. He is the president of the Société Royale Belge d'Études Orientales since 1994 and member of the Administrative Council of the Francophone Association of Coptic Studies. Since 2013, he is director of the magazine Solidarité-Orient in Brussels. In addition to Coptology and genealogy, Cannuyer also writes on the subject of Bahá'í Faith.
|Original title||L'Égypte copte, les chrétiens du Nil|
|Subject||Coptic Egypt, Coptic Christianity|
|Publisher||FR: Éditions Gallimard|
US: Harry N. Abrams
UK: Thames & Hudson
Published in English
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|ISBN||978-2-070-53512-5 (first edition)|
|Preceded by||Berlin enfin !|
|Followed by||Venise : La Sérénissime et la mer|
Christian Cannuyer traces in five chapters the history, the rich artistic and spiritual heritage of the Egyptian Christians known as Copts in a densely illustrated, pocket-sized volume from Gallimard's "Découvertes" collection--L'Égypte copte, les chrétiens du Nil--published in 2000, in the Religions series. The book starts with "The First Church of Alexandria" (chap. I), from Roman times (chap. II, "When Egypt was Christian"), Islamic Egypt (chap. III, "Under the Sign of the Crescent"), Turkish conquest and the rediscovery of Coptic Christians by the West (chap. IV, "Crossing the Desert"), up to modern era (chap. V, "The Copts in the Modern Era"). The author also gives a brief explanation of the influence of ancient Egyptian culture and religion on the Copts. The "Documents" section at the back contains a compilation of excerpts which is divided into five parts: 1, Origins of the Egyptian church; 2, The Desert Fathers; 3, The echoes of ancient Egypt; 4, On earth as it is in heaven; 5, The Copts as seen by the West. In addition to the excerpts, it also features in this section a map of Coptic Egypt, a list of further reading, list of illustrations and an index. The English-language edition entitled Coptic Egypt: The Christians of the Nile, came out in 2001. This book has only been translated into English.
In ancient Egypt, religion was an omnipresent phenomenon. The Romans occupied the country at about the time when Christianity was born, an extraordinary phenomenon then took place: little by little, Christ replaced the Egyptian god Osiris, and all the more easily as the Gospels report the almost four-year stay of the Holy Family in the Nile Valley. Alexandria, the great Mediterranean city, was the home to the first Christians in Egypt. According to the tradition, the Church was born here with Saint Mark the Evangelist, which later became part of the Eastern Christian Empire. Egypt even adopted Christianity as its state religion in the 4th century. Egypt at that time--especially Alexandria--was a real crossroads where the ancient culture of the Pharaohs, the Greek and Roman cultures, Judaic and Gnostic currents have had a strong influence on the young Christian communities.
The Copts today still use in their liturgy the Coptic language, derived from the ancient Egyptian, to pray in churches and monasteries founded in the 4th century by the Desert Fathers--Anthony, Pachomius, Paul of Thebes--and gather at festivals and pilgrimages dedicated to the Lord, the Mother of God, the saints and the martyrs. Cannuyer explains the definition of the name Copt in his book:
The Copts are the Christians of Egypt. Theirs is among the most ancient forms of Christianity, born in the time of Jesus. The name derives from the Arabic Qib?, an abbreviation of the Greek name Aigýptios (Egyptian); this in turn is a derivation of Hikuptah, House of the Energy of Ptah, the religious name for Memphis, the capital city of ancient Egypt. Coptic Christianity mingles remnants of pharaonic practices, elements of Hellenistic and Byzantine Egyptian culture, and the dynamism of Arab civilization.
About the author