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Coptic Historiography in the Fātimid, Ayyubid and Early Mamluk Periods'

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This article intends to give a brief overview of Arabic historiographical works compiled by Coptic authors between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. Each section of the paper deals with various aspects of one particular text. Within each section, an account is given first of the structure of the composition of the text. This is followed by a short outline of the biographical data on the author or compiler, whenever available. The aim of this sub-section is to characterize the author in terms of his social and confessional position and more particularly to try to find out to what extent he may have been subject to influences from the adjacent (Muslim, Jewish, Melkite) communities. In the third sub-section, the sources, in as far as these have been identified in previous studies, are reviewed and presented in such a way as to indicate to what degree the compiler made use of material originating from confessional groups other than his own Coptic tradition. Conversely, the fourth and last sub-section on each text, contains remarks on the later impact and reception of the text, both within and outside Coptic readership itself. In the concluding section, it is argued that this analysis, despite the manifold uncertainties it cannot solve immediately, suggests a development that moves from a horizon limited to the cultural heritage of the traditions of the Coptic community towards the much more cosmopolitan or universalist cultural environment of the "Coptic Renaissance" of the thirteenth century.


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