Sharp dividing lines are often traced by scholars of the Middle Ages between the Christian and Muslim worlds, conveniently apprehended in terms of West vs. East. One can also see divisions between North and South, e.g. across the Mediterranean or along the Nile Valley. In light of new approaches in scholarship however, these dividing lines have become more fluid and the exchanges between the two worlds can be better appreciated. This situation is best reflected in the study of the Nubian kingdoms, which ruled the Middle Nile Valley between ca. 500-1500 CE.
This lecture will present the history of these Christian Nubian kingdoms with a focus on the religious literacy and on the contacts of the Nubians with the other states and religious groups of the region, such as the Caliphate, the Byzantine Empire, and other African kingdoms. The second part of the lecture will discuss a few texts in Coptic and Old Nubian, which in the larger context of Late Antique Christian apocrypha can contribute to a better understanding of the religious and literary background of the Qur’an.
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Tonio Sebastian Richter
On Forgotten Christian Kingdoms in Africa
University of Bergen