Monday, May 24, 2010

Visiting Cairo

I will be in Cairo from 4–12 June visiting some colleagues, accessing a manuscript, and seeing some wonders with my family. This photo of me was taken at St. Macarius' monastery in Wadi el-Natrun. Although their choice of reading lights is a bit eccentric, the monastery boasts an excellent library, especially with respect to biblical studies.

I am excited about visiting the Center for Middle Eastern Christianity at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. This new institution (est. 2005) has hosted presentations discussing the Egyptian biblical tradition, and hopefully will be a strategic center for future research, particularly for Arab Christians. I will also visit some churches with friends.

In a future post, I hope to comment on some work which I hope to accomplish at the Coptic Museum with a palimpsest manuscript there. Using ultraviolet lights which I have purchased, I hope to produce new images of a largely unedited Greek-Coptic New Testament manuscript.

My family will accompany me. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for Cairo activities which are appropriate for my children (aged 3, 7, 9).


  1. Christian, try to visit the Alexandria School of Theology and perhaps offer to do a lecture for them. Alexandria is 225km from Cairo so a couple of hours drive. It also has some great beaches and historic cites to see.

  2. Thanks, Mike! For now, we have decided to focus on Cairo, although I would like to visit Alexandria some day. I would be interested to see what is happening at AST.

    With a three-year-old in tow, even a 2.5 hour trip is a big deal.

  3. Christian, I think that your children may be interested in visiting Magic Land & Dream Park.

    I'd like to help you more; just let me know!

  4. I recommend you connect with Rev. Chandler, rector of The Church of St. John the Baptist in Maadi (services at 10:00 am every Friday). He and his wife Lynne have written several books and if I'm not mistaken he recently did a speaking tour of Scandinavia.

    I'm thinking their children would be a bit older than yours, and I'm afraid their repertoire of languages probably doesn't include any Coptic. But maybe yours could teach them some.

  5. Fadie and Daniel, thanks for these suggestions.

  6. Martin Fassnacht5/25/2010 12:04 pm


    good trip to Cairo.
    What largley unedited greek-coptic ms is it? Do you know if this ms has a Gregory-Aland Number?
    And: it would be fantastic if we can link the images in the NT.VMR

  7. Dear Martin,

    I will post the details latter this week. I have already requested permission to share the images with Muenster and Birmingham, but have not yet requested VMR rights. I think that this is a larger institutional issue, which should be discussed not only for this manuscript but for all the NT manuscripts in the holdings of the various public Egyptian institutions.

  8. Andrew Wilson5/26/2010 2:35 am

    Hi Christian,

    I passed on the Egyptian leg of a tour to Israel last year. I was disappointed, of course, to miss St. Catherine's monastery, etc. However, my disappointment was tempered by the fact that virtually everyone else on the tour got a bad case of the runs while in Egypt, some in embarrassingly public places. Don't stray too far from the public conveniences.

  9. I fell ill on my last trip to Egypt, but I blame myself for breaking the rules and eating things that I should not have. Otherwise, I think that I would have been fine. Hopefully, we will have no Mummy Tummy this time

  10. Hi...we are planning on visiting Cairo this June 12th-17th...We will also be traveling with our children, ages 6, 7 and 12.I was thinking the Cairo Zoo, but I've read some bad reviews.
    I was wondering what did you eat to make you sick?

  11. Dear Momoffour,

    An Egyptian senator hosted an extravagant meal at a fancy palace. A trustworthy friend told me that the caterer was the best in Cairo and I could eat anything they served. Everybody got sick that night. Don't eat anything that is not cooked. No raw vegetables! Beware lettuce on hamburgers and other garnishing vegetables.

  12. ~~Great advice, thanks so much!