Weapons of the Faithful
Defining Orthodoxy through Sermons
Chapter 5 shows how an aggressive missionary movement in the eighteenth century prompted Coptic clergymen to mount a moral campaign against ‘heretical’ Catholic teachings. Missionaries had used the pulpit to spread their message among Arabic-speaking Christians, and Coptic leaders responded by disparaging contact with Catholics and scorning their heterodox practices, which were proliferating as a consequence of intermarriage, socialization, or outright conversion. At times, Coptic leaders sermonized for the expulsion of believers who fell outside the lines of moral and spiritual orthodoxy. The intensifying engagement with outsiders also spawned overtly sectarian language and fostered the characterization of an authentic Coptic identity opposed to the perceived depravity of other communities.
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