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Religion in the Egyptian Novel$
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Christina Phillips

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474417068

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474417068.001.0001

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Intertextual Dialogues

Intertextual Dialogues

(p.122) 5 Intertextual Dialogues
Religion in the Egyptian Novel

Christina Phillips

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores religious intertextuality in works by Jamal al-Ghitani, Najib Mahfuz and ‘Abd al-Hakim Qasim. It examines how al-Ghitani reworks elements of Ibn ‘Iyas’ Badaʿiʾ al-Zuhur fi’l-Waqaʿiʾ al-Duhur to bring out themes relating to the collusion of religion and power in Al-Zayni Barakat (1971) and how messianic thought and prophetic myth are deconstructed in Mahfuz’s Malhamat al-Harafish (1977). It analyses the reimagining of Christ’s crucifixion in ‘Abd al-Hakim Qasim’s short novel Al-Mahdi (1984) as a comment on modern-day religious violence and the practice of scapegoating, and discusses religious conflict in the text as an example of René Girard’s mimetic rivalry leading to communal self-purification through sacrifice. It also explores the dialogue with Islamic eschatology and dream narrative in Qasim’s Turaf min Khabar al-Akhira (1984), examining how the scene of the interrogating angels and pattern of judgement in the afterlife are transformed to communicate social and religious themes.

Keywords:   Najib Mahfuz, Jamal al-Ghitani, ‘Abd al-Hakim Qasim, Intertextuality, René Girard, religious violence, eschatology

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