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The Long 1890s in EgyptColonial Quiescence, Subterranean Resistance$
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Marilyn Booth and Gorman Anthony

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748670123

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748670123.001.0001

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Legitimising Lay and State Authority:

Legitimising Lay and State Authority:

Challenging the Coptic Church in Late Nineteenth-Century Egypt

(p.117) 4 Legitimising Lay and State Authority
The Long 1890s in Egypt

Vivian Ibrahim

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter assesses how broad educational shifts had a tangible impact on the development of Coptic society. Lay Copts displaced the clergy as the main agents of reform, a process that had its roots in broader social and educational reforms implemented by the Egyptian Khedival state, the church and later the British occupation. By 1890, this had dramatic consequences, due in part to the emergence of an urban educated, bureaucratic class, the efendiyya. Coptic efendiyya sought to challenge the patriarch and highlight the existence of oppositional voices to the church hierarchy. By utilising the press to vocalise its concerns, the Tawfiq Society [Jam‘iyyat al-Tawfiq] – a Coptic youth-led benevolent social and later political society composed of emerging effendiyya - were able to challenge the church as an alternative voice, while also promoting participation from within the community.

Keywords:   Copts, Effendis, Coptic patriarch, Clerical reform, Tawfiq Society, Egyptian press

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