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The Martyrdom of Jirjis (Muzāḥim): Hagiography and Coptic Orthodox Imagination in Early Fatimid Egypt

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The tenth-century neomartyr Jirjis (called Muzāḥim before his conversion to Christianity and baptism) is well known from the précis of his Martyrdom preserved in the Copto-Arabic Synaxarion (entry for 19 Baʾūna). The full text of the Martyrdom (as preserved in the fourteenth-century manuscript Cairo, Coptic Museum, History 469) allows us to date Muzāḥim’s imprisonments and execution to the year 978. If, as is probable, the Martyrdom was composed soon afterwards, it is a valuable witness to intercommunal relations and to processes of Coptic identity-definition in the early Fatimid period in Egypt. It draws the Christian-Muslim (and even Coptic-Melkite) boundaries as clearly as possible, offering a no-nuance evaluative stance that is in startling contrast with the more ecumenical approach of the sources preserved in The History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria.

Affiliations: 1: Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, il 60615USA


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