Be Thou There: The Holy Family's Journey in Egypt

Overview

"Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word"(Matt., 2:13).

The world long awaited the arrival of the Messiah, and the prophecy intimated that he would appear in Egypt. But how long would he stay? Where would he go? This remarkable book retraces the footsteps of the Holy Family in Egypt as they fled the decree of Herod ordering the slaughter of all male infants under the age of two.

Since the Gospels give scant ...

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Overview

"Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word"(Matt., 2:13).

The world long awaited the arrival of the Messiah, and the prophecy intimated that he would appear in Egypt. But how long would he stay? Where would he go? This remarkable book retraces the footsteps of the Holy Family in Egypt as they fled the decree of Herod ordering the slaughter of all male infants under the age of two.

Since the Gospels give scant information on the Family's time in Egypt the experts assembled here have had to resort to a little detective work: examining the Coptic sources and the rich culture the Copts have had as one of the first Christian communities in the world and the primary denomination in Egypt; combing through all the ancient references and testimonials in libraries around the world; and walking Egypt from end to end, collecting local traditions and sharing in pilgrimage festivals throughout the country. Each expert reports his findings here in a refined yet engaging way.

More than 100 full-color photographs vividly demonstrate that the spirit of the Holy Family remains alive in the land where Jesus took his first earthly steps - in solitary groves, desert retreats, and urban sites where churches now attest to their sacred character, in jewel-encrusted icons that candidly reveal the mercy of Jesus, and in the worshipful regard of celebrants, congregants, monks, and pilgrims.

Here, at last, scholars, general readers, and tourists alike will find a comprehensive guide to the traditions associated with the Holy Family in Egypt. Significantly, all sites the Family is said to have visited are included, even in the absence of scholarly support, because thousands of believers prove by their faith that the Family's presence remains to this day.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This unique coffee-table offering uses text, illustrations and photographs to chronicle the possible journey of Jesus and his parents when they fled to Egypt, escaping Herod's death sentence for male children under the age of two. Although the Bible is virtually silent about this topic, Coptic literature and traditions are replete with tales of the holy family's sojourn in Egypt. Their travel "itinerary" has become a sacred pilgrimage route for many Coptic Christians, who visit holy sites and enjoy longstanding local festivals along the way. This book does not attempt to verify or disprove the legends of 2,000 years ago, but presents an informative discussion of the persistence of those legends and their importance to Coptic Christianity. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
An internationally acclaimed Coptic scholar and director of the Coptic museum in Cairo, Gabra here assembles a rare itinerary of the Holy Family's travels in Egypt, as Jesus and his parents fled Herod's deadly decree. Writings by William Lyster (The Monastery of St. Paul), Cornelis Hulsman (journalism, American Univ. in Cairo), and Stephen Davis (Evangelical Theological Seminary, Cairo) document the sites purportedly visited by the Holy Family. A historical overview of the Coptic Church is also provided. The selection of sites is based essentially on a blend of trust, oral tradition, innuendo, politics, and economics. These cannot satisfy the scientific criteria of Western scholarship and may not even appeal to the average traveler. But those desiring to explore a side of Egypt removed from the pyramids and pharaohs or seeking an introduction to the Christian traditions of that country will find this volume helpful. For more depth and scholarship, Otto Meinardus's Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity (American Univ. in Cairo, 2001) is a better choice. Recommended for large travel and religion collections only. Edward K. Owusu-Ansah, Coll. of Staten Island Lib., CUNY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789774246067
  • Publisher: American University in Cairo Press, The
  • Publication date: 4/1/2001
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 12.80 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

GAWDAT GABRA, a former director of the Coptic Museum, is the author or editor of numerous books related to the literary and material culture of Egyptian Christianity, including Coptic Monasteries: Egypt’s Monastic Art and Architecture , Christian Egypt: Coptic Art and Monuments through Two Millennia (both AUC Press 2002), and Christianity and Monasticism in the Fayoum Oasis (AUC Press, 2005). He is the co-editor of the three volumes of The Popes of Egypt (vol. I: AUC Press, 2004).
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