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Christianity and Monasticism in Middle Egypt$
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Gawdat Gabra and Hany Takla

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9789774166631

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774166631.001.0001

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Discerning the True Religion in Late Fourteenth-Century Egypt

Discerning the True Religion in Late Fourteenth-Century Egypt

Pages from the Dayr al-Muharraq Edition of al-Hawi by al-Makin Jirjis ibn al-‘Amid

(p.133) 13 Discerning the True Religion in Late Fourteenth-Century Egypt
Christianity and Monasticism in Middle Egypt

Mark Swanson

American University in Cairo Press

In recent years, Dayr al-Muharraq has shared some of its riches with the wider world through the publication of transcriptions of manuscripts from the monastery's library. This chapter sheds new light on an important manuscript, virtually unknown to scholars, that was made by a monk of the monastery—a rare edition of a work called al-Hawi, by al-Makin Jirjis ibn al-ʻAmid. It considers Ibn al-ʻAmid's contribution to one of the earliest apologetic topics in the history of Christian-Muslim controversy, that of how to discern the true religion from among the various religions on offer. Ibn al-ʻAmid strongly rejects the idea of worldly success as an indicator of a religion's truth. In doing so, he may well have been countering forms of argumentation that he had heard from Muslims; but he also cut off at the root a Christian form of argumentation that had been a temptation from the time that Christianity achieved imperial approval under the emperor Constantine.

Keywords:   Dayr al-Muharraq, manuscripts, Christianity, Islam, true religion

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