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Christianity and Monasticism in Upper EgyptVolume 1: Akhmim and Sohag$
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Gawdat Gabra and Hany N. Takla

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9789774161223

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774161223.001.0001

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The Coptic Life of Shenoute

The Coptic Life of Shenoute

(p.91) 9 The Coptic Life of Shenoute
Christianity and Monasticism in Upper Egypt

Gawdat Gabra

Hany N. Takla

American University in Cairo Press

The Coptic Life of Shenoute is best known in its Bohairic version. In Bohairic, a virtually complete version of the Vita Sinuthii, that is the Life of Shenoute, has come down to us. It gives an account of Shenoute's life from his birth to his death and is attributed to Shenoute's successor, Besa. This chapter argues that the Vita Sinuthii should not be regarded as a biography of Shenoute originating from a single text written by Besa. Rather, the texts known to us mark different stages in the text's development, from speeches of praise, delivered on the day of commemoration of Shenoute, to collections of episodes from Shenoute's life, many of which are surely the product of someone's pious imagination. It was only at some later stage of this process that the texts were attributed to Besa in order to give the work complete authority.

Keywords:   Shenoute, Life of Shenoute, Vita Sinuthii, Besa, Bohairic

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