From Egyptian prehistory to Coptic culture and the manuscript heritage of the modern period – an impressive lecture by Japanese researcher So Miyagawa

As part of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization’s project titled “The Levant: Cradle of Abrahamic religions”, Dr So Miyagawa, a researcher at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Kyoto and the Institute for Oriental and Western Research at the Kansai University in Suita, Osaka (Japan) gave an online lecture as an Introduction to Coptic language and literature in a Digital Age on Wednesday, September 30th 2020.

The Japanese researcher offered an impressive description of Coptic linguistics – part of the broader Levantine cultural heritage – from Egyptian prehistory through the beginnings of the Coptic script in its six dialects (of which the Sahidic and Bohairic are the most broadly used), to the Coptic literary heritage constituted between the 4th and the 14th centuries AD.

Alongside the masterfully illustrated nuances of the Coptic language, So Miyagawa took the audience on a sojourn through the available monastic texts, dominated by vibrant personalities such as the 4th-century abbot of the White Monastery located in the Theban desert, Shenoude, or his disciple by the name of Besa.

Such figures were discussed from the perspective of the historical reconstruction of a collection of canons and texts that preserve and maintain the memory of Egyptian Christianity, with its administrative authorities and its local, traditional message – fundamental considerations of researchers with a passion for the Coptic language and literature within the various European and international projects that aim to return the values of Christian civilisation to the attention of today’s globalised world.



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