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What is the locus of theology? It touched about the role of scholar in the Coptic Orthodox Church. I have two resources. 1. William Dalrymple's book, From the Holy Mountain: A Journey Among the Christians of the Middle East. Page 404 talks about how the Copts rejected the concept of learning, beginning with St. Antony ("in the person whose mind is sound, there is no need for letters"). When Robert Curzon visited the Monastery of Deir el-Suriani in the Wadi Natrun, Dalrymple writes, "he discovered manuscripts of lost works of Euclid and Plato serving as stoppers in jars of monastic olive oil." [Thanks, guys. We could have used the ones on Euclid's math and geometry!] 2. However, Meinardus wrote in Monks and Monasteries of the Egyptian Deserts about the roles in Coptic monasticism (pp. 195-196), which contradicts the above! He says that Coptic monasticism has had the "scholastic impulse," and lists several Old and New Testament scholars amongst the ranks of monks: James the Lame, Paphnute, Anba Shenudah (letters, homilies, rules,), etc., Meinardus states that the last especially had a large impact upon the life of the Church, and upon the lives of monasteries. He goes on to list John of Nikiu, Menas of Pschati, Abuna Abd al-Masih ibn Girgis al-Baramusi [who apparently wrote a systematic theology book that I hope is in English one day!], Abuna Abd al-Masih ibn Salib al-Mas'udi al-Baramusi, who was a librarian. The contradiction is confusing to me; there can be dangers from both perspectives. The first reminds me of the emperor of China, who, upon finding that a farmer had created a machine that enabled him to fly, feared that Mongols would use them to drop rocks over the Great Wall of China; he had the airplane destroyed, and the farmer's head cut off. Abuse does not take away the use. Because someone might become addicted to, or overdose on, oxycontin doesn't mean the FDA should ban the painkiller, but only control it. "Virus in media stat," Virtue stands in the middle, or, as they'd say in my little hometown, "Don't go throwing the baby out with the bathwater."
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