Friday, January 16, 2009

Come with us to the Land of the Pharoahs. . .

A group of LTSP students, led by Professor David Grafton, is spending the last weeks of January in Egypt. Dr. Grafton is an Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations, and the Director for Graduate Studies of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Prior to his appointment at LTSP, Dr. Grafton served as the Coordinator of Graduate Studies at the Evangelical (Presbyterian) Theological Seminary in Cairo, Director of the Center for Middle East Christianity at the ETSC, and adjunct lecturer in Islamic studies at the Dar Comboni Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Cairo, Egypt.

Follow the group on their journey and read their reflections in the trip's online blog.

from Prof. Grafton's first entry:
Egypt is the land of the Pharoahs and the Pyramids. It is the land of refuge for Abraham, Jeremiah, Joseph, and Jesus. It is the land of Moses and the Exodus. It is the land of the ancient Pharos Lighthouse and Library of Alexandria. The land of Mark - the first Patriarch of the See of Alexandria and the Coptic Orthodox Church. It is the land of Origen, Clement, and Athanasius. It is the land of Philo and Elephantine Island. And the land of the Septuagint, the Nag Hammadi texts and Codex Sinaitcus.

It is the land of the first monastery of the world - St. Antony - as well as the oldest university in the world - Al-Azhar, the center of Sunni Islam. It is the resting place of Sayyida Zeinab, the granddaughter of Muhammad, and the site of the relic of Imam Ali, his son-in-law. The land of the Jewish Philosopher Maimonides and warrior Saladin. And the land of Muhammad Ali, the first modern ruler of Egypt, and the final interrment of Muhammad Reza Pahlavi - the last Shah of Iran. It is the land of Africa and Asia. It is the land of the Nile.

We would like to invite you to come with us as we journey through this land, encounter its history and come face to face with its people. We hope to chronicle our trip with journal entries by students of the Egypt Globalization Seminar. Our journey will lead us to the Great Pyramids of Giza, but more importantly our journey will lead us to its people: Christian and Muslim; agnostic and Pietist. We are interested in learning about their identities and their faiths.

Be sure to return frequently to the blog at ltsp.edu/egypt to follow the journey, see photos from the trip, and read the latest reflections.

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