"Early Nubian Christianity and Coptic Shrines: Ritual Symmetry through Ancestral Veneration"
4:00 pm Refreshments and Book Signing of The Roots of Nubian Christianity Uncovered: The Triumph of the last Pharaoh
4:20 pm Lecture
Abstract - Archaeological evidence excavated by Emery and Kirwan at the royal tombs of Ballana and Qustul confirm the presence of Christianity in Nubia from the middle fifth to the early sixth century CE. The royal tombs of Ballana provided evidence of Christian artifacts that at least confirmed Noubadian contact with Coptic Egypt and Rome before the arrival of Byzantine missions in the sixth century. Within these tombs, located on the frontier of Egypt and Sudan were discovered reliquaries with distinctive Christian images yet within the milieu of classical Egyptian and Nubian funerary traditions. Considering the role of reliquaries in Coptic liturgical and monastic practice we must ask the question how did these sacred objects function within the context of Noubadian ancestral rituals. To what extent does early Nubian Christianity and Coptic shrines represent ritual symmetry?
SALIM FARAJI is Associate Professor and Chair of Africana Studies at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He completed his M.Div. at the Claremont School of Theology and M.A. and Ph.D. at Claremont Graduate University. He is a member of the International Society for Nubian Studies and specializes in early Christian history, Africana and Africanist historiography, Coptic Studies and the Sudanic, Napatan, Meroitic and Medieval periods of Nubian history. He has presented papers on Nubian Christianity at both the 11th International Conference for Meroitic Studies in Vienna, Austria and the 12th Annual International Conference for Nubian Studies at the British Museum. He is one of a handful of Nubiologists in the United States and a distinguished scholar of Graeco-Africana Studies. Professor Faraji is a contributor to Romans, Barbarians, and the Transformation of the Roman World, the Encyclopedia of African Religion and the Oxford Dictionary of African Biography.