1494 S. Robertson Blvd, Suite 104, Los Angeles, CA 90035
(424) 284-3004
info@stshenouda.org

20th St. Shenouda-UCLA Conference of Coptic Studies, July 19-20, 2019

Coptic Society

20th St. Shenouda-UCLA Conference of Coptic StudiesJuly 19-20, 2019

Registration Fee (Suggested Contributions):

  • Members: $20
  • Non-Member : $25
  • Students: Free
  • UCLA Students/Faculty: Free

Click here for online registration. Registration fees to paid at the door. If you would like to make a contribution to the cost of the conference, click here.

Friday, July 19, 2019

9:00-10:00 a.m. Registration
10:00-10:05a.m. Opening Remarks by Dr. Kathlyn Cooney (NELC-UCLA)
10:05-10:30 a.m. Dr. Diliana Atanassova, Holy Week in the White Monastery Before the Reform of Gabriel II ibn Turaik in the 12th Century.
10:30-11:00 a.m. Hany N. Takla, The Legacy of St. Shenouda the Archimandrite throughout Coptic History
11:00-11:15 a.m. Break 
11:15-12 noon Dr. Janet Timbie, The State of Research on the Life and Times of St. Shenouda the Archimandrite in 2019 with Some Reflections on the 20th Conference
12 Noon-1:15 p.m. Lunch Recess 
1:15-2:15 p.m. Prof. Elizabeth Bolman, Masculinity, Animals and Asceticism in the White Monastery Federation
2:15-2:45 p.m. Dr. Agnieska Syzmanska, Sacred Spectating and the Architecture of Divine Spectacles
2:45-3:00 p.m. Break

 

3:00-4:00 p.m. Stephen Davis, Archaeology at the Shenoutean Monastic Federation, 2010–2019: A Report on the Last Decade of YMAP’s Work
4:00-4:30 p.m. Dr. Youhanna N. Youssef, A homily on Saint Shenoute ascribed to saint Cyril

 

7:30-8:30 p.m. Hany N. Takla, Tour of the new Coptic Cultural Museum at the St. Shenouda Center for Coptic Studies, located at 1494 So. Robertson Blvd, LA, CA 90035, Ste 200.

 

Saturday, July 20, 2019

8:30-9:30 a.m. Registration 
9:30-10:00 a.m. Hany N. Takla, The Journey Continues -The State of the Society 2014-2015
10:00-10:45 a.m. Prof. Tito Orlandi, The Library of Monastery of St. Shenute at Atripe: Its History and Its Role
10:45-11:00 a.m. Break 
11:00-11:30 a.m. Dr. Caroline Schroeder, Girls and Girlhood in Sources from the White Monastery: A Preliminary Study
11:30 a.m. – 12 noon Stephen J. Davis, The Dialogical Function of Shenoute’s Monastic Rules: An Archaeology of Practice in the Women’s Monastery at Atripe
12 noon-12:30 pm Dr. Carolyn Schneider, A Fatal Disturbance in the Pachomian Community under Besarion and its Consequences
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Lunch Recess 
1:30-2:00 p.m. Dr. Gawdat Gabra, Miscellaneous Items from the White Monastery in the Coptic Museum.
2:00-2:30 p.m. Dr. Heather Badamo, Material Metaphors and the White Monastery Keys 
2:45-3:00 p.m. Break 
3:00-3:30 p.m. Dr. Lisa Agaiby, St Shenoute the Archimandrite in Manuscripts of the Red Sea Monasteries 
3:30-4:15 a.m. Prof. Mark Swanson, Portrayals of Shenoute: the witness of the Copto-Arabic Synaxarion
4:15-4:25 p.m. Break/Pictures 
4:25-5:00 p.m. Business Meeting of the Members of St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society.

The Conference will be located on the Campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Royce Hall, Room 314. 

Coming from the south or from the Santa Monica Freeway:
Take the 405 N, Exit Wilshire East (Bear to the right at the exit)
Turn Right on Wilshire Blvd.
Turn Left on Westwood Ave. (the 3rd traffic light after exiting the fwy)
Turn Right on Leconte Ave
then turn Left on Hilgard Ave (the second light after turning into Le Conte
Turn Left on Westholme Drive, then turn right immediately in a driveway to the information kiosk.
Request parking in Lot #2, parking. Rates are $13 per day, Handicap $10 and mention that you attending the 20th St. Shenouda - UCLA Conference of Coptic Studies at Royce Hall. The attendant at the Parking Kiosk can direct you to Royce Hall. There is also Parking by space for the same rate.
Enter in the left-most door of Royce Hall and take the elevator up to the third floor (Room #314).

Coming from the north (The San Fernando Valley):
Take the 405 S, Exit Sunset East
Turn Left on Sunset Blvd.
Turn Right on Hilgard Ave.
Turn Right on Westholme Drive, then turn right immediately in a driveway to the information kiosk.
Request parking in Lot #2, parking is $13 per day, Handicap $10.
The attendant at the booth can direct you to Royce Hall as indicated above.
Enter in the left-most door of Royce Hall and take the elevator up to the third floor (Room #314).

  • Dr. Elizabeth (Lisa) Agaiby (St. Athanasius College, University of Divinity, Melbourne Australia)
  • Dr. Diliana Atanassova (University of Göttingen, Germany)
  • Dr. Heather Badamo (University of California, Santa Barbara)
  • Prof. Elizabeth Bolman (Case Western Reserve University, OH)
  • Prof. Kathlyn Cooney (UCLA, CA)
  • Prof. Stephen Davis (Yale University, Conn)
  • Prof. Gawdat Gabra (St. Mark Foundation, OH/Egypt)
  • Prof. Tito Orlandi (University of Rome Sapienza, Italy)
  • Dr. S. Michael Saad (Claremont Graduate University/St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society, CA)
  • Dr. Carolyn Schneider (Independent Scholar, WI)
  • Prof. Carolyn Schroeder (The University of the Pacific, CA)
  • Prof. Mark Swanson ( Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, IL)
  • Dr. Agnieszka Szymanska (University of Richmond, VA)
  • Mr. Hany N. Takla (St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society/ACTS, CA)
  • Prof. Janet Timbie (Catholic University of America, DC)
  • Dr. Youhanna M. Youssef (Catholic University, Melbourn Australia)

Title: St Shenoute the Archimandrite in Manuscripts of the Red Sea Monasteries

Presenter: Dr. Elizabeth (Lisa) Agaiby (St. Athanasius College, University of Divinity, Melbourne Australia)

Abstract

As spiritual head of a federation of monasteries in the region of Sohag (Upper Egypt) that numbered some 4000 members, St Shenoute the Archimandrite (c. 348–464) authored a vast number of monastic canons and sermons that were copied and re-copied by scribes throughout the ages. By examining the manuscripts of the Red Sea monasteries of St Antony and St Paul, this paper seeks to identify to what extent Shenoute’s influence was felt in monastic environments beyond his own in Upper Egypt.

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Title: Holy Week in the White Monastery Before the Reform of Gabriel II ibn Turaik in the 12th Century.

Presenter: Dr. Diliana Atanassova (University of Göttingen, Germany)

Abstract 

This paper will discuss the attempt to reconstruct what the Copts read during Holy Week in the White Monastery at the time before the reform of Gabriel II ibn Turaik (1131–1146) and Peter, the bishop of Oxyrhynchus. The most important characteristics of this reform were the redaction and unification of the pericopes and homilies that already existed.

Until now, there are only two known fragmentary parchment Sahidic codices that might have been written before the 30s of the 12th century. The two codices, sa 298L and sa 299L (according to the List of Coptic Biblical Manuscripts, Münster & Göttingen, aka LCBM), will be compared with the three later Sahidic-Arabic codices – sa 16L, sa 292L, sa 349L – which include the features of Gabriel’s reform. One of the features of this reform in particular, was to replace the non-homiletic readings with homilies. For example, the reading of Psalm 34:1-28 at the end of the first canonical hour on Good Friday, as it appears in sa 298L, was replaced in the later manuscripts with a homily by John Chrysostom, as also found in sa 292L.

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Title: Material Metaphors and the White Monastery Keys

Presenter: Dr. Heather Badamo (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Abstract

Recent scholarship on the medieval art of the object has uncovered the capacity of utilitarian artifacts, such as inkwells and censers, to embody complex rhetorical devices. In The Arts of Allusion: Object, Ornament, and Architecture in Medieval Islam (2018), Margaret S. Graves draws particular attention to the rhetorical qualities of archimorphic objects, i.e. objects that allude to full-scale monuments rather than mimetically reproducing them. While Graves focuses on Islamic art, the phenomenon she identifies can readily be seen in Coptic artifacts of the premodern era. Drawing on her methodology, this paper investigates the keys from the White Monastery as examples of what Graves calls “allusive objects.” The three keys, which all date to the mid-thirteenth century, are made of cast copper, engraved and inlaid with silver. Strikingly, each key is surmounted by elaborate capitals or a domed shrine, referring to the type of honorific architecture epitomized in monuments like the Red and White Monasteries. Examining them in conjunction with contemporary architecture, depictions of keys, and literary sources, it argues that the White Monastery keys materialize metaphors of spiritual authority and faith. The fanciful ornament of these artifacts builds upon points of architectural similitude to engage the imaginative faculties of the beholder.

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Title: Masculinity, Animals and Asceticism in the White Monastery Federation

Presenter: Prof. Elizabeth Bolman (Case Western Reserve University, OH)

Abstract

Depictions of animals in the eastern apse of the Red Monastery church have more fluid relationships to meaning than other figural representations in the monument, and lack specific identities and labels. Yet, the decision to place these paintings in the privileged eastern lobe of the church’s triconch sanctuary indicates particularly charged and important subject matter. The ambiguity of these images of animals suggests that their original audiences would have related to them in a special way. An examination of the paintings’ historical context, with the aid of Shenoute’s prolific writings, enables us to consider possible spheres of significance that include the Garden of Eden and Paradise, Adam, Christ, food, greed, lust, castration, ideas about the male body, and transformative imitation.

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Title: The Dialogical Function of Shenoute’s Monastic Rules: An Archaeology of Practice in the Women’s Monastery at Atripe

Presenter: Prof. Stephen J. Davis (Yale University, Conn)

Abstract

This paper will take as its point of departure a set of dipinti (painted inscriptions) discovered in the course of Yale’s excavations of the Shenoutean women’s monastery at Atripe. One of the dipinti preserves a previously unattested rule of Shenoute, while the other two are written by (or on behalf of) a monastic woman named Anastasia who identifies herself as the head of the women’s monastery. But just as interesting is the fact that the dipinti stand directly opposite each other within a room, and Anastasia’ writings take the form of a responsive prayer petitioning God to help fulfill the command of Shenoute’s rule. Drawing on this archaeological context, I will present a series of new arguments about the materiality and dialogical function of monastic rules in late ancient Egypt.

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Title: Archaeology at the Shenoutean Monastic Federation, 2010–2019: A Report on the Last Decade of YMAP’s Work

Presenter: Prof. Stephen J. Davis (Yale University, Conn)

Abstract

This paper reports on archaeological work at the White Monastery and the remains of its affiliated women’s monastery at Atripe from 2010 to 2019. As such, it serves as a sequel to the report I gave at the 10th UCLA-St. Shenoute Society Conference in 2009 and published in the 2010 volume of Coptica. My survey of the on-site work sponsored by the Yale Monastic Archaeology Project (YMAP) will cover the gamut of our local engagement, from survey, excavation, and architectural analysis, to epigraphy and papyrology, and from conservation and cultural heritage management to digital archaeology.

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Title: Miscellaneous Items from the White Monastery in the Coptic Museum.

Presenter: Dr. Gawdat Gabra

Abstract

The Coptic Museum possesses many fragments of the works of Saint Shenoute of Atripe. The text of a Mimar (Homily) on St Shenouda by St Wisa and another of prayers attributed to him are preserved in two Arabic manuscripts in the museum library. In addition, a number of keys and a hoard of golden coins, which once belonged to the White Monastery, are exhibited in this museum. My presentation will focus on the story and circumstances of the entry and display of that hoard as well as their implications.

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Title: The Library of Monastery of St. Shenute at Atripe: Its History and Its Role

Presenter: Prof. Tito Orlandi (University of Rome Sapienza, Italy)

Abstract

In a contribution of the year 2002 to a conference in Leiden (A. Egberts, B. P. Muhs, J. van der Vliet, Perspectives on Panopolis), I put together what was known of the Library of the Monastery of St. Shenute at Atripe (also called White Monastery). To this study most of those dealing with one or other aspect of the Library have been referring, and on the other hand they have brought new ideas and new perspectives on the subject. In the present essay I shall resume these last studies and make a new assessment of the historical value and occurrences, analysing again issues like: the role of the Library for the making of what we call Coptic literature its decaying and dispersion the fate of the codices prior to the IX century.

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Title: A Fatal Disturbance in the Pachomian Community under Besarion and its Consequences

Presenter: Dr. Carolyn Schneider (Independent Scholar, Chicago, IL)

Abstract

Various authors have noted a rivalry between the monastic communities of Pachomius and Shenoute in the fourth through the sixth centuries that eventually tilted in favor of Shenoute’s congregation. This paper suggests that disastrous events in the Pachomian community may have contributed negatively to this realignment, beginning at the time of the transition of leadership from Apa Horsiesios to Apa Besarion in the 390s, during the episcopate of Theophilus. It seeks to reconstruct those events by merging The Apocalypse of Charour with a codex that Louis-Théophile Lefort called S15 in his edition of the text, since these two texts seem to contain reference to the same apparently violent struggle among the Pachomians over issues of property, wealth, privilege and power, in which the general Apa Besarion and Victor, the head of the shoemakers’ house at Pbow, were main characters. The crisis was troubling both for the Pachomians themselves and for Bishop Theophilus.

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Title: Girls and Girlhood in Sources from the White Monastery: A Preliminary Study

Presenter: Prof. Carolyn Schroeder (The University of the Pacific, CA)

Abstract

This paper will examine references to girls in select writings from three White Monastery leaders: Shenoute, Besa, and Johannes. We know girls lived in the women’s community of the White Monastery Federation, and yet references to them are scarce. This paper will provide a preliminary examination of how these White Monastery authors write about girls and girlhood, including paying attention to absences of girls when compared to references to boys and the language used to describe girls. The study will take into account different kinds of attestations of girls in the sources, such as generic attestations about “boys and girls” collectively, specific girls or circumstances of girls in the monastery, and references to biblical figures or biblical passages.

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Title: Portrayals of Shenoute: the witness of the Copto-Arabic Synaxarion

Presenter: Prof. Mark Swanson ( Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, IL)

Abstract

The title of this presentation is already misleading in suggesting that one can speak of *the* Copto-Arabic Synaxarion (Kitab al-Sinaksar). From its (rather obscure) origins up to the present day, the Synaxarion has been and continues to be a living text. However, it is possible to discern a form of the work that more-or-less stabilized in the early 14th century, which was “vulgatized” by the early 20th-century editions of Forget and Basset. When it comes to Shenoute and other great saints of the church, however, their portrayals in this medieval Synaxarion are considerably different from those found in the printed books read in Coptic Orthodox churches in the 20th and 21st centuries (including publications of 1912, 1936, 1951, 1972, and 2012).

The presentation will describe the differing portrayals we are given of Shenoute (and others) and attempts to give some background for them; as well as to raise questions about place of medieval hagiography (and critical editions?) in the life of the Church.

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Title: Sacred Spectating and the Architecture of Divine Spectacles

Presenter: Dr. Agnieszka Szymanska (University of Richmond, VA)

Abstract

Early Christian monks wrote about experiencing visions of god through an ascetic practice of sacred spectating. Numerous texts denote this monastic tenet with the Greek word theōria. This talk proposes that the implications of sacred spectating reach beyond its literary treatment. The notion of spectating divine truths contributed also to the creation of richly decorated spaces within the monastic built environments that supported the practice of theōria.

The monastic concept of divine contemplation (theōria) has Greco-Roman antecedents. Plato modeled his theory of philosophic apprehension (theōria) on the longstanding tradition of sending sacred delegations (theōriai) to religious centers to attend festivals. The reshaping of Greek pilgrimage in the roman period involved altering the context of theōriai to theatrical spectacles performed at agonistic festivals. Greco-roman expressions of theōria solidified the associations between theater and sacred spectating.

The theme of sacred spectating informed the production of what i term the architecture of divine, or theoric, spectacles during a formative period of Christian monasticism. The prime surviving example is the fifth-century church sanctuary at the red monastery in Egypt. Its interior elevation emulates the decorative façades of open-air theaters, and is fully painted with ornamental motifs and figural depictions. Unlike Greco-Roman theater buildings, the theatrical backdrop of the red monastery sanctuary would have been wholly visible only to a few monks. This space was meant to frame not a public spectacle, but rather the ascetic practice of divine contemplation, within the performance of the liturgy. This was part of a larger project in which the practitioners of the ascetic life cast themselves as the true philosophers, with divine insights. Thus, asceticism, liturgical action, and monumental, intensely decorated elite architecture come together to provide a new setting for theōria.

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Title: The Legacy of St. Shenouda the Archimandrite throughout Coptic History

Presenter: Mr. Hany N. Takla (St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society/ACTS, CA)

Abstract

Throughout Coptic History, the legacy of Upper Egyptian saints typically did not extend too far beyond their geographical bounders except in modern times. The exception to this phenomenon is St. Shenouda the Archimandrite. In his case evidence of his literature was found as far south as Nubia and as far North as Wadi al-Natrun. His life was translated into Ethiopic and Syriac as well Arabic. All major monastic in Egypt have multiple copies of his Arabic vita. He is the only Upper Egyptian monastic figure to have a church named after him in Old Cairo, which is attested in the history as early as the mid 8th century. His monastic library in the 9th-10th century provided the texts upon which the survived Bohairic literary corpus was translated from. His monastic church in Sohag still stands a testimony to his legacy to this day. This paper will survey the evidence of his memory and legacy geographically and historically in all aspects of the Coptic heritage.

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Title: The State of Research on the Life and Times of St. Shenouda the Archimandrite in 2019 with Some Reflections on the 20th Conference

Presenter: Prof. Janet Timbie (Catholic University of America, DC)

Abstract

In my last report (July 2014) on this topic, I focused on substantial, foundational publications of Shenoutean material: Canon 8, in an edition and translation published by Anne Boud’hors, and Canons of Our Fathers: Monastic Rules of Shenoute, edited and translated by Bentley Layton. In 2019 we are still waiting for publication of the rest of the Canons and the Discourses with Coptic text and translation. However, in the meantime, scholars have produced some very useful publications that bring the life and writings of Shenoute into the mainstream of scholarship on Late Antiquity. David Brakke and Andrew Crislip published Selected Discourses of Shenoute the Great, making writings on a wide range of topics available to all readers. Works on specialized topics have integrated Shenoutean studies to a greater degree that before; see for example, Hugo Lundhaug and Lance Jenott, Monastic Origin of the Nag Hammadi Codices and Ewa Wipszycka, The Second Gift of the Nile, for sections dealing with Shenoute and the White Monastery. Important work has also been published in festschriften honoring Bentley Layton and Ariel Shisha-Halevy. Finally, the proceedings of the 10th International Congress of Coptic Studies (Rome, 2012) appeared in 2016 with many reports on Shenoute. I will discuss selected papers or sections from these publications to identify trends in research as we reach the milestone of the 20th conference.

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Title: A homily on Saint Shenoute ascribed to saint Cyril

Presenter: Dr. Youhanna M. Youssef (Catholic University/SAOTC, Melbourn Australia)

Abstract

This paper will examine an Arabic homily that narrates a vision seen by St. Shenoute in the inner desert. It is preserved in two manuscripts though each ascribed it to a different Cyril, Cyril of Alexandria and Cyril of Jerusalem! In addition to giving a synopsis of the contents, a comparison of this text to the extant vita of the saint as well as other interesting aspects and questions that this text present.

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