Jean-Leon Allie Library and Archives
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Public Lecture and Book Launch: “The Coptic Life of Aaron and Early Egyptian Monasticism”

Dr. J.H.F. Dijkstra (University of Ottawa) invites you to attend “The Coptic Life of Aaron and Early Egyptian Monasticism,” a public lecture and book launch. 

Date: February 27, 2020

Time: 3 p.m.

Location: Jean-Léon Allie Library and Archives (Guigues Hall, 1st floor)

This event is free and open to all; no registration required.



The Life of Aaron is one of the most interesting and important hagiographical works in Coptic literature. The work contains descriptions of the lives of ascetic monks on the southern Egyptian frontier in the fourth and early fifth centuries, and was probably written in the sixth century. Even though the first edition of this work was published by E.A. Wallis Budge in 1915, it remained virtually untouched until quite recently, and a critical edition was long overdue. In a recent book, written with Jacques van der Vliet (Leiden/Radboud University), I fulfill this desideratum by presenting not only a new critical text but, as rarely happens in Coptic Studies, also a translation and exhaustive commentary.

To celebrate the publication of our edition, in this public lecture I will focus on one of the main interests of the work: the evidence it provides for early Egyptian monasticism. As is well known, Egypt was the main cradle of monasticism and, reaching the West through such authors as John Cassian, it was arguably Egypt’s most important and long-lasting contribution to the Western world. In this lecture, I will start by discussing what Egyptian monasticism is and then describe how its ideals are represented in the Life of Aaron.

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