What We Are Reading Today: The Rise of Coptic

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Updated 25 January 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Rise of Coptic

Author: Jean-Luc Fournet

Coptic emerged as the written form of the Egyptian language in the third century, when Greek was still the official language in Egypt.
By the time of the Arab conquest of Egypt in 641, Coptic had almost achieved official status, but only after an unusually prolonged period of stagnation. Jean-Luc Fournet traces this complex history, showing how the rise of Coptic took place amid profound cultural, religious, and political changes in late antiquity, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.
For some 300 years after its introduction into the written culture of Egypt, Coptic was limited to biblical translation and private and monastic correspondence, while Greek retained its monopoly on administrative, legal, and literary writing.  
This changed during the sixth century, when Coptic began to penetrate domains that were once closed to it, such as literature, liturgy, regulated transactions between individuals, and communications between the state and its subjects.


What We Are Reading Today: The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown

Updated 26 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown

Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans.

The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home.

Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, “The Boys in the Boat” is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times, according to a review published on goodreads.com.

It will appeal to readers of Erik Larson, Timothy Egan, James Bradley, and David Halberstam’s “The Amateurs.”