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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Survivals of Pharaonic Religious Practices in Contemporary Coptic Christianity.


The concept of “survivals” has provoked heated discussions among scholars of various disciplines within the humanities and the social sciences. In the case of Egypt the polemics have been most vehement between those who trace contemporary popular beliefs and practices back to Pharaonic times and others who reject the idea altogether. The perspectives of “analogy,” “continuity and change,” and “living traditions” have opened the way to alternative approaches to the subject. Urbanization and globalization have profoundly changed Egyptian culture and prompted the abandonment of most religious practices belonging to the Egyptian lore. However, some aspects of Pharaonic religious practices can still be observed in Coptic Christianity. These practices are tied to the Coptic calendar, funerary rituals, visits to the dead, and mulids.

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