The character of the purse : analyzing tax records and administrative policy from the perspective of Christology in 7th-8th century Egypt
Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Theology. Dept. of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology.
Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation is a qualitative study of literary and documentary evidence driven by a proposition: “Did Historical-Contextual Christological perspectives in seventh and eighth century Egypt have a direct impact on the economic and political relationship with Arabs, specifically as it relates to taxes, and if so, how, and to what extent?” This is a study of historiographical and papyri evidence that answers this question via ecclesiastical discourse involved with the economic (tax) policy of Arab rule from 641 to ~720 with the hope of making the connection between theology and practice. This is a logical expectation, as theologians and administrators of this time period were classically trained in Christology, and so have an identifiable logic or pattern so as to connect ideas to practice. Therefore, the progressive development of both Chalcedonian and Miaphysite Christologies are examined in this study with their direct relationship to the State both before and after the Arab conquest of Egypt. Then in turn the administrative policy of tax administration is evaluated in structure and documentation, with a view towards discovering internal Christological language that indicates motive for action. To further develop the comprehension of this work, case analysis in comparative historical method is used with contemporary Syrian experience. With a holistic view of the internal comparison of available data, I pursue secondary sources in order to analyze primary evidence with extant papyri available. What was also anticipated by looking at this evidence was path dependence, for there was evidence of a persistent administrative structure for government taxes/finances. This study further utilized the construct of idealtype narrative comparison, by comparing Syria as a value-rational ideal type. This method is used for testing the hypothesis in order to determine the original meaning in context of Egyptian Christology and taxes. Religious statements are indicators of a state of political conflict, as well as for both continuity and change. By observing the conflict via the interaction between disparate theological communities, the precise points of Christological debate identify a points of contact between Christology, the State, and practice. Internal evidence of Syria and Egypt point to a sacerdotal focus of the Eucharist as the point of contact in conflict between Christological confessions. There is also an implied connection from this sacrament to the political world encountered, for resistance in its many forms to a heavy tax burden is passive in nature. The question then remains as to why. The study concludes in the findings that the majority Miaphysite Christology did not have a world and life view (Weltanschauung) which provided an ethic for self-defense in direct opposition to the State, for the Muslim State continued to be viewed as a divine sanction for the activities of the church and its members. The point of resistance then was in seeking political change via the power of the Christ encountered in the sacrament.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Geen opsomming