Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 14 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

The Copts, the indigenous Christians of Egypt, are early examples of the global spread of Christianity. Their name comes from qibt, which Arabic-speaking Muslims used to designate first the native population of Egypt, and subsequently Egyptian Christians. Though Copts claim descent from the ancient Egyptians, most belong to the monophysite Coptic Orthodox Church, which attributes its origins to the missionary activities of Mark the Evangelist in the first century CE. As a result of the Islamic conquest in the seventh century and gradual conversion to Islam thereafter, they now constitute a small Arabized Christian community in an Arabic-speaking Muslim majority milieu. However, Copts remain the largest Christian population in the entire North African-Middle Eastern region. The key issues they face involve how to maintain communal viability and identity in the face of the powerful forces of nationalism, secularism, emigration, and post-colonial Islamic radicalism. This article traces the history of the Coptic tradition, demographics of Egypt's Coptic population, their rituals, relations with Muslims, and the Coptic diaspora.

Keywords: Copts, Egypt, Christianity, Muslims, history, demographics, rituals, Coptic diaspora, secularism, nationalism

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.