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Christianity and Monasticism in Northern EgyptBeni Suef, Giza, Cairo, and the Nile Delta$
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Gawdat Gabra and Hany N. Takla

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9789774167775

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774167775.001.0001

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Kellia and Monastic Epigraphy

Kellia and Monastic Epigraphy

(p.193) 18 Kellia and Monastic Epigraphy
Christianity and Monasticism in Northern Egypt

Jacques van der Vliet

American University in Cairo Press

Since the 1960s, hundreds of Greek and Coptic graffiti and dipinti of varying length, contents, and interest that have been discovered by French and Swiss missions at the various monastic settlements in and near Kellia. Instead of focusing on the more or less interesting contents of the inscriptions, This chapter proposes a reading of the Kellia inscriptions as monastic epigraphy, that is, as witnesses to monastic life and practices. It first briefly sketches the characteristics of what could be called the “monastic revolution” in epigraphy. It then presents three examples from the Kellia corpus of mural inscriptions to illustrate specific aspects of monastic epigraphy as it was part of the cultural practices of northern Egyptian monasticism. It ends with some conclusions that will not confirm the interpretation of the Kellia graffti as acts of vandalism.

Keywords:   graffiti, dipinti, Christianity, monasticism, Kellia, monastic epigraphy, monastic life

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