Selected Readings

All Sources Selected readings
From Byzantine to Islamic Egypt: Religion, Identity and Politics after the Arab Conquest
Author: Maged S. A. Mikhail
The conquest of Egypt by Islamic armies under the command of Amr ibn al-As in the seventh century transformed medieval Egyptian society. Seeking to uncover the broader cultural changes of the period by drawing on a wide array of literary and documentary sources, Maged Mikhail stresses the cultural and institutional developments that punctuated the histories of Christians and Muslims in the province under early Islamic rule.
The Early Coptic Papacy: The Egyptian Church and Its Leadership in Late Antiquity
Author: Stephen J. Davis
This book analyzes the development of the Egyptian papacy from its origins to the rise of Islam. How did the papal office in Egypt evolve as a social and religious institution during the first six and a half centuries AD? How do the developments in the Alexandrian patriarchate reflect larger developments in the Egyptian church as a whole―in its structures of authority and lines of communication, as well as in its social and religious practices?
The History of the Patriarchs
Author: multiple
The History of the Patriarchs is a series of biographies of the Coptic patriarchs from the beginning (St Mark) to 1250 AD. The events recorded range from the Muslim conquest of Egypt, the overthrow of the last Umayad ruler Marwan II, Arab-Christian relations, histories of the various countries, are often based upon eyewitness accounts by contemporary authors. As such they provide an essential source for the religious, economic and social life of Egypt in the early Islamic period. This important text remains unavailable even in many libraries.
The Coptic Encyclopedia
Author: Aziz S. Atiya (editor)
An invaluable reference tool for Coptic Studies is The Coptic Encyclopedia. This monumental work, with approximately 2800 entries written by 215 scholars, covers treasures of Coptic language and literature; Copto-Arabic literature; Coptic art, architecture, archaeology, history, music, liturgy, theology, spirituality, monasticism; and biblical, apocryphal, social, and legal texts. The encyclopedia was the fruit of years of effort on the part of its Editor-in-Chief, Aziz S. Atiya (1898-1988, Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Utah), and its Principal Investigator, Lola Atiya (1917-2002, Doctor of Humane Letters).
The Chronicle of John, Bishop of Nikiu
Author: John, Bishop of Nikiu
A primary source that witnessed the Arab and the Persian conquest of Egypt. Full of rich details and from the perspective of a Coptic bishop. Difficult, but highly recommended read.
Origen. Lectures in Patrology. The School of Alexandria, Book 2
Author: Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
A comprehensive study of Origen and his theology by one of the leading Coptic theologians of the modern age. Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty.
The Story of the Church of Egypt
Author: E. L. Butcher
A wonderful, if forgotten (and slightly outdated) history of the Coptic Church. The author writes a narration of the events from the beginning of the Coptic church with St. Mark to colonial Egypt - where she lived and was part of that colonial regime.
Theophilus of Alexandria
Author: Norman Russell
If Theophilus of Alexandria seems a minor figure today, it is because we persist in seeing him through the eyes of hostile contemporary witnesses, each of whom had his own reasons for diminishing Theophilus’ stature. In fact, he was one of the greatest bishops of the Theodosian era, who played an important role in a crucial phase of the Roman Empire’s transformation into a Christian society.
Cyril of Alexandria. Norman Russell
Author: Norman Russell
This book presents key selections of Cyril's writings in order to make his thought accessible to students. The writings are all freshly translated and an extended introduction outlines Cyril's life and times.
Female Deacons in the Byzantine Church (Academic paper)
Author: Valerie Karras
An excellent academic paper looking at female deacons and their role in the Orthodox church.
The Rise of the Monophysite Movement
Author: William HC Frend
The standard academic book examining the social historical background to this significant two hundred year period from the council of Ephesus in 431 to the expulsion of the Byzantines from the levant by the Arabs. Very well written, but outdated in several key points and terminology.
Chalcedon in Context
Author: Richard Price. Mary Whitby
The Council of Chalcedon in 451 was a defining moment in the Christological controversies that tore apart the churches of the Eastern Roman Empire in the fifth and sixth centuries, as theological division, political rivalry, and sectarian violence produced a schism that persists to this day between Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian churches. The Acts of the Councils are one of the largest collections of source materials relating to the Church of Late Antiquity and its state relations, and this book places the acts in context with the Council of Chalcedon of 451, ultimately informing historians on how to approach manifold aspects of these documents.
The Arab Conquest of Egypt
Author: Alfred J. Butler
The standard and only modern scholarly source on the Arab conquest of Egypt. Meticulous scholarship, and excellent writing. This book is a must of anyone wishing to study the history of Egypt.
The Prophet and the age of the Caliphate
Author: Hugh Kennedy
An accessible history of the Near East from c.600-1050AD, the period in which Islamic society was formed. Beginning with the life of Muhammad and the birth of Islam, Hugh Kennedy goes on to explore the great Arab conquests of the seventh century and the age of the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates.
The Coptic Papacy in Islamic Egypt, 641–1517: The Popes of Egypt
Author: Mark Swanson
A standard source for the medieval Coptic popes (641–1517 CE) who were regularly portrayed as standing in continuity with their saintly predecessors; however, at the same time, they were active in creating something new, the Coptic Orthodox Church, a community that struggled to preserve a distinctive life and witness within the new Islamic world order. Building on recent advances in the study of sources for Coptic church history, this book aims to show how portrayals of the medieval popes provide a window into the religious and social life of their community.
The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land
Author: Thomas Asbridge
This book covers the years 1095 to 1291 in this big, ambitious, readable account of one of the most fascinating periods in history. From Richard the Lionheart to the mighty Saladin, from the emperors of Byzantium to the Knights Templar, Asbridge’s book is a magnificent epic of Holy War between the Christian and Islamic worlds, full of adventure, intrigue, and sweeping grandeur.
Coptic Identity and Ayyubid Politics in Egypt, 1218-1250
Author: Kurt J. Werthmuller
Using the life and writings of Cyril III Ibn Laqlaq, 75th patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, along with a variety of Christian and Muslim chroniclers, this book explores the identity and context of the Christian community of Egypt and its relations with the leadership of the Ayyubid dynasty in the early thirteenth century.
The Coptic Christian Heritage: History, Faith, and Culture
Author: Lois M. Farag
This book offers a comprehensive introduction to the heritage of Coptic Christians. The contributors combine academic expertise with intimate and practical knowledge of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Coptic heritage. The chapters explore historical, cultural, literary and material aspects of Coptic culture.