The Manuscript Project at the Coptic Monastery of St Paul the Hermit at the Red Sea, Egypt

20 November, 2023

We are deeply honoured to welcome Dr Lisa Agaiby, Academic Dean at St Athanasius College, and Senior Lecturer in Coptic Studies at the University of Divinity, Australia, to lead the Eastern Christianity in Interfaith Contexts Reading Group.

Here are the details of this fascinating presentation.

Title: The Manuscript Project at the Coptic Monastery of St Paul the Hermit at the Red Sea, Egypt

Abstract: St Paul the Hermit (c. 228-341) has had a compelling lure on the imaginations of Christians from Late Antiquity to the present day. Identified through the centuries as the first Christian hermit, Paul is believed to have lived most of his long life in a cave in the Egyptian desert near the Red Sea. In time, his hermitage became the core of a monastic settlement that has existed continuously for almost two millennia and bears material witness to sustained devotion to the saint in the form of multiple phases of expansion, wall paintings, liturgical furnishings, and a wealth of precious manuscripts. Since 2018, and in cooperation with the Monastery of St Paul, an Australian team has been working to digitise and document the invaluable manuscript collection. This paper presents the goals and progress of the project to date.

Speaker: Dr Lisa Agaiby, the Academic Dean and Senior Lecturer at St Athanasius College, University of Divinity, Melbourne, Australia.

Speaker’s biography: Dr Agaiby received a Ph.D. from Macquarie University, Sydney Australia, and a Ph.D. from the University of Göttingen, Germany. Her areas of interest include Christianity in Late Antique, Early Egyptian Monasticism, Coptic Archaeology, and Christian-Arabic Studies. Her latest publications include: Lisa Agaiby and Tim Vivian (2021, Nov.) Door of the Wilderness: The Greek, Coptic, and Copto-Arabic Sayings of St. Antony of Egypt (Leiden: Brill); Lisa Agaiby, Mark N. Swanson, and Nelly Van Doorn-Harder eds. (2021). The Proceedings of St Athanasius College’s International Symposium of Coptic Studies: “Copts in Modernity” 13 to 16 July 2018 (Leiden: Brill); and Elizabeth (Lisa) Agaiby (2018) The Arabic Life of Antony attributed to Serapion of Thmuis. Cultural Memory Reinterpreted (Leiden: Brill). She is currently leading a project to digitise and catalogue the entire collection of manuscripts at the ancient Coptic Monastery of St Paul the Hermit at the Red Sea, Egypt. 

At St Athanasius College, Lisa teaches the following units: ‘Uncovering the Past: An Archaeology of Christian Egypt’; ‘Saints and Sinners: Women in Late Antiquity’; ‘Hagiography and the Cult of the Saints’; ‘The Lives and Times of the Desert Fathers’; and ‘Ascetic Theology and the Making of a Monk in Late Antiquity’.

Chair: Professor Sebastian Brock, FBA, University of Oxford, UK

Date: 20 November, 2023

Time: 17:00-18:00 GMT | 9:00-10:00 PST | 12:00-13:00 EST

Venue: Online

After registering, you will receive a Zoom email, on the day of the event, containing information about joining the meeting. If you do not see the Zoom email in your inboxplease, check your spam folder.

If you would like to join the Eastern Christianity in Interfaith Contexts Reading Groupplease sign up here.

Related Sessions

Recordings of Past Sessions