A close reading in translation of the three main descriptions/commentaries on the Coptic eucharistic liturgy by Yuḥannā Ibn Sibā‘, Abū-l Barakāt Ibn Kabar, and Pope Gabriel V spanning the late 13th to the 15th centuries. Students will acquire an understanding of the unfolding of the Coptic liturgy and its symbolic interpretation in these crucial three centuries, which constitute the final phase in the development of the Coptic liturgy as it survives today. Reading of the original text is supplemented by a discussion of lives and times of the authors, history of Egypt at the time, and knowledge from some contemporaneous Euchologion manuscripts.

Unit code: DL2425A

Unit status: Archived (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Liturgy

Proposing College: St Athanasius College

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Learning outcomes


Examine the historical context of Egyptian society in the late medieval period (13th-15th centuries), especially the life and condition of the Coptic Orthodox community during that period.


Discuss how the liturgy of the Eucharist unfolded as described in selected works on the Coptic Liturgy composed between the 13th-15th centuries.


Demonstrate an understanding of these important liturgical works enhanced by knowledge of the authors’ backgrounds and lives and the transmission history of the works themselves.


Explore the liturgical theology and symbolic interpretation communicated in these important sources in order to gain insight into the place, meaning, and function of liturgy proposed by these respective authors.

Unit sequence

An intermediate unit in Coptic Liturgy. An introductory unit in Coptic Liturgy is recommended but not required


The unit will engage students in analysis and theological reflection through the presentation of lectures, readings and engaging discussion

Indicative Bibliography

  • Brakmann, Heinzgerd. “New Discoveries and Studies in the Liturgy of the Copts (2004–2012),” in Coptic Society, Literature and Religion From Late Antiquity to Modern Times: Proceedings of the Tenth International Congress of Coptic Studies, Rome, September 17th –22nd, 2012 and Plenary Reports of the Ninth International Congress of Coptic Studies, Cairo, September 15th–19th, 2008, ed. Paola Buzi, Alberto Camplani and Federico Contardi, vol. 1, Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 247 (Leuven: Peeters, 2016), 457–481.
  • Mikhail, Maged S.A. From Byzantine to Islamic Egypt: Religion, Identity and Politics after the Arab Conquest London: I.B. Tauris, 2014. (recommended for purchase)
  • Mikhail, Ramez. “Sources for the Study of Coptic Liturgy”. Unpublished
  • Swanson, Mark N. The Coptic Papacy in Islamic Egypt (641-1517) (The Popes of Egypt 2). Cairo: AUC Press, 2010.
  • Thomas, David and Alex Mallett (eds.), Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History, vol. 4, (1200–1350), History of Christian-Muslim Relations 17 (Leiden: Brill, 2012).
  • Zanetti, Ugo, “Bohairic Liturgical Manuscripts,” Orientalia Christiana Periodica 61 (1995): 65–94.
  • The texts of the The Precious Jewel, The Lamp of Darkness and The Ritual Order provided in class as handouts.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

1000 word forum

1000 25.0

1000 word essay

1000 25.0

2000 word essay

2000 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 5 Sep, 2018

Unit record last updated: 2023-09-06 13:24:56 +1000