Scriptural Exegesis in Coptic: Text-Based Homilies for Different Audiences

The works of Shenoute of Atripe (d. 465) contain many examples of the text-based homily. Some of these homilies were intended for the monastic community and some for Christians living near the White Monastery who could occasionally hear Shenoute preach in the monastery church. Each category of homily, monastic and non-monastic, can be analyzed to see how it conforms (or not) to known patterns of text-based homily. They can also be compared in their use of scripture (quotation vs. allusion) and in the originality of their application of scripture to the need of the particular audience. While Shenoute is active in the formative period of communal monasticism and thus addresses new problems through scriptural exegesis, the homily for laity already has a long history and therefore his interpretations seem more in line with those of his contemporaries in Egypt.