Fleeing Herod: A Journey Through Coptic Egypt with the Holy Family

Fleeing Herod: A Journey Through Coptic Egypt with the Holy Family

by James Cowan
     
 

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When the Holy Family fled to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod Antipas, they journeyed for three years throughout Egypt, mainly along the Nile, to keep Herod’s agents at bay. Using an ancient 4th century text written by Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria as his guide, Cowan takes the reader on a fascinating journey through modern-day Egypt in the

Overview

When the Holy Family fled to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod Antipas, they journeyed for three years throughout Egypt, mainly along the Nile, to keep Herod’s agents at bay. Using an ancient 4th century text written by Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria as his guide, Cowan takes the reader on a fascinating journey through modern-day Egypt in the footsteps of the Holy Family, about the Delta region and up the Nile to a place called Mount Qussqam, where Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus resided for six months. The itinerary, according to Coptic tradition, was revealed to Theophilus in a dream.

Documenting his journey, Cowan finds himself in the midst of a spiritual revolution going on in Egypt itself. He meets with monks and health workers, desert mystics and visionaries, all of whom have a stake in the story of the Holy Family’s journey, as they know it. Through their eyes the reader is drawn into a dramatic story of escape and miraculous interventions.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Cowan (A Mapmaker's Dream) follows the itinerary of the Holy Family from Bethlehem through Egypt to escape from murderous King Herod. "The Holy Family's journey was, or is, no ordinary flight from evil," writes Cowan, who follows, too, the Coptic tradition said to have originated in a vision in the 4th century given to Theophilus of Alexandria. Cowan inserts his assumptions, imaginings, and conjectures about what happened to Joseph, Mary, Jesus, and Salome, their servant, as Egypt welcomed, and threatened, these strangers. As Cowan travels from Cairo south via Al-Minya toward Mallawi, he quotes Josephus, Evagrius, and Herodotus in addition to Theophilus' Vision. He meets guides (geographical and spiritual) and then-Pope Shenouda, head of the Coptic Church; monks and nuns address him courteously as "Mr. James." At journey's end, wise Father Angelus grants him succor in Deir al-Muharraq. This author-centered mythography mixes kaffeeklatsch conversation with seminary lingo. Cowan boldly twins his spiritual journey with the Holy Family's, concocts conversations, treads tangents, and describes sites in rouged travelogue-speak ("Brown dust lay over everything, and air conditioners clung to buildings like parasites."). (Apr.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781612613048
Publisher:
Paraclete Press
Publication date:
03/28/2013
Pages:
260
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

James Cowan is a noted international author and scholar. He has written books on Francis of Assisi and Anthony of Egypt. Well known for his novel, A Mapmaker’s Dream, he was awarded the ALS Gold Medal for Literature in 1998. A convert to the Greek Orthodox Church, he currently he lives in Byron Bay, Australia.

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