fourth centuries

Stela

STELA An upright stone slab or pillar. Today some 1,100 ornamented Christian funerary stelae from Egypt (excluding Nubia) are known, most of them distributed over many museums. The most important collections are those of the Coptic Museum in Cairo, the Greco- Roman Museum in Alexandria, the British Museum in London, the Staatlichen Museen in Berlin, …

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Coptic Ceramics

COPTIC CERAMICS The pottery produced in Egypt from the late Roman to the early Islamic period. There must be no illusion about the term “Coptic ceramics.” The techniques of production were in the tradition of Hellenistic and Roman techniques. Similarly, there is no marked stylistic discontinuity between the products of the Roman period and those …

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Icon

ICON The word icon derives from the Greek eikon, meaning “image,” “portrait,” or “likeness.” Generally, Coptic icons are made of panels of wood painted mostly in tempera. Encaustic (hot wax) was also used, and the panels may be covered with a layer of gesso. The greater majority of Coptic icons represent portraits such as images …

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Pistis Sophia

PISTIS SOPHIA A collection of Gnostic treatises contained in the Askew Codex, divided in the manuscript into four books. A title is found at the end of the second and the third books: “A Part of the Books of the Savior.” Inscribed by a later hand at the beginning of the second book is the …

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Apophthegmata Patrum

APOPHTHEGMATA PATRUM The collection of memorable words and anecdotes of the desert fathers. In the sixth century in Palestine, the monk Zosimus was already mentioning “the apophthegms of the holy old men” (Zosimus, 1864, col. 1679), but that does not seem to be the oldest or most common name. At the same period, also in …

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Coptic Literature

COPTIC LITERATURE National literatures are defined not only by the language in which they are written but also by ethnic and cultural affinities that bind their authors. That is why we may distinguish an American literature in English from British literature or a Latin-American literature in Spanish from Spanish literature. The literature in the Coptic …

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