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Author Topic: Library of Alexandria  (Read 1847 times) Average Rating: 0
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Eleos
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« on: August 09, 2007, 01:58:23 AM »

Greetings,

Is there a popular or traditional Coptic account of the date and circumstances of the destruction of the Library of Alexandria?

Thanks
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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2007, 02:58:25 AM »

This is not exactly the most scholarly publication out there and it is definately not Coptic, but what they say sounds plausible:

http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/malexanderlibrary.html
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2007, 03:05:11 PM »

Quote
As Christians gained dominance in the region, they felt uncomfortable with pagan temples full of pagan documents. In 391 AD, Theophilus, the patriarch of Alexandria, urged a mob to destroy the temple at Serapis, presumably at the same time destroying whatever books were left in the daughter library. This was hailed as a great victory of the Christians over the pagans.

The final fire was in 645 AD, when the Moslem caliph Omar conquered Egypt. The story is that Omar was asked what to do about the books in the library, and gave the reply: "If the books agree with the Koran, they are not necessary. If they disagree, they are not desired. Therefore, destroy them." According to tradition, the scrolls were used as fuel to provide hot water for the soldiers' baths for six months.

I have to say, this doesn't sound implausible, on either count.
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Eleos
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2007, 12:32:06 AM »

Thank you Salpy.  That article seemed the most balanced of any I had found. 

Yes Asterikos, I agree.  The loss of the library of Alexandria is very very heartbreaking for everyone nowadays I think. 

Sadly, it brought a memory to my mind that's been tucked away for at least 20 years!  It emotionally brought me back bit to a memory of of my evangelical neighbors who's kids I grew up with who were encouraged to crack their "satanic" KISS records! 

I'll never forget, begging them to let me have their limited edition complete 4 record set where each had foldout posters and a different member of KISS on the cover.  I literally felt grieved that day as an 8 year old and even cried out when they cracked the first one on the street playing frisbees with it Cry.  I couldn't figure out why someone would destroy something that was meaningful to another person rather than just let them have it! 

All because it was "satanic".  Their son later pursued a career in rock music and for a while got hooked on heroin.
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« Last Edit: August 10, 2007, 12:35:36 AM by Eleos » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2007, 03:31:03 PM »

Bede, an apologist who will soon be publishing the book "God's Philosophers," dealt with the issue of the burning of the Library of Alexandria some time ago, showing that it was Julius Caesar who (accidently) destroyed it and that neither the Christians nor the Muslims are responsible. The popular version of his article may be found here and the scholarly version here.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2007, 03:32:15 PM by Symeon » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2007, 05:16:15 PM »

Bede, an apologist who will soon be publishing the book "God's Philosophers," dealt with the issue of the burning of the Library of Alexandria some time ago, showing that it was Julius Caesar who (accidently) destroyed it and that neither the Christians nor the Muslims are responsible. The popular version of his article may be found here and the scholarly version here.

The issue of blaming the Muslims I feel is strongly held by Copts who are very proud of their philosophical history and angered at the Islamic persecution.  Whether it's true or not, we may never know, but as I say, we have to look for the evidence.
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