History professor presents Coptic studies paper at UCLA

Dr. Monica Bontty, an assistant professor of history at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, presented a paper at a Coptic studies conference in July.


Her paper, which examined how the spread of ideas over long distances impacts culture, was presented at the 12th annual University of California Los Angeles-St. Shenouda Conference of Coptic Studies, held at UCLA on Friday, July 16.

Copt was a common term for Egyptian people during the Late Antique Period (300-600 A.D.), according to Bontty, though it currently concerns the Christian population of Egypt as opposed to the Muslim population.

"Coptic refers to its language, literature, church, historical period and the entire culture of Christian Egyptians," Bontty explained.

While investigating possible communication between early Celtic monasticism in Ireland and Coptic monks, Bontty said she came across what was described by another scholar as an extremely unusual ecclesiastical practice occurring in Hiberno-Latin texts.

"This practice was once described as uniquely Irish said Bontty. "Instead, this phenomenon mimics practices found elsewhere and may indicate the exchange of ideas, if not actual contact, between monastic institutions."

St. Anthony and St. Pachomius were early founders of monasticism in Egypt, said Bontty. Later, Shenouda combined St. Anthony's brand of monasticism with that of St. Pachomius at the famous White Monastery in the desert of Egypt.

Bontty is conversant in all stages of the ancient Egyptian language and has published various articles dealing with philology, Coptology as well as Celtic-Coptic interactions.

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