The Roots of Egyptian Christianity

This book is the first of a series of projected volumes emanating from the Roots of Egyptian Christianity Project of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, in Claremont, California, with a second base in the Department of Religious Studies of the University of California, Santa Barbara. The project, of which Birger A. Pearson is Director, has as its long-term goal the publication of a comprehensive history of Christianity in Egypt from its beginnings until the Arab conquest in the seventh century C.E. The word «roots» in the project title thus connotes much more than «origins.» While a plant has its origin in a seed, its roots spread out into the ground from which it sprouts and gains its nourishment. So too the Roots of Egyptian Christianity Project seeks to understand not only the inception of Christianity in Egypt but the various forces within Egypt that helped to shape Egyptian Christianity in the period prior to the Arab conquest. By studying the development of Egyptian Christianity as an expression of Egyptian culture, one is better able to understand what makes Egyptian Christianity Egyptian. The project will trace the history of the Christian religion in Egypt from its beginnings among Greek-speaking Jews in Alexandria to its spread among Greek-speaking Gentiles in Alexandria and other Greek population centers, from its earliest expansion among native Egyptian people to its flowering as the national religion of Egypt.