Egyptian Pagans through Christian Eyes
Juliussen-Stevenson, Heather Ann
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Construction of Christian identity in Egypt proceeded in pace with construction of the Egyptian pagan “Other” between the second and sixth centuries. Apologies, martyrdoms, apocalypses, histories, sermons, hagiographies, and magical texts provide several different vantage points from which to view the Christian construction of the Egyptian pagan “Other”: as the agent of anti-Christian violence, as an intellectual rival, as an object of anti-pagan violence, as an obstacle to salvation, and—perhaps most dangerously—as but another participant in a shared religious experience. The recent work of social scientists on identity, deviance, violence, social/cultural memory, and religiosity provides insight into the strategies by which construction of the “Other” was part of a larger project of fashioning a “proper” Christian religious domain.