Aziz Suryal Atiya

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Aziz Suryal Atiya (Arabic: عزيز سوريال عطية‎, Coptic: Ⲁⲍⲓⲍ Ⲥⲟⲩⲣⲓⲁⲗ Ⲁϯⲁ; July 5, 1898 – September 24, 1988)[1] was an Egyptian Coptologist who was a Coptic historian and scholar and an expert in Islamic and Crusades studies.

Aziz Suryal Atiya
عزيز سوريال عطية
Ⲁⲍⲓⲍ Ⲥⲟⲩⲣⲓⲁⲗ Ⲁϯⲁ
Born( 1898-07-05)July 5, 1898
Zefta , Egypt
DiedSeptember 24, 1988 (1988-09-25) (aged 90)
Alma materUniversity of Cairo,

Alexandria University, University of Cambridge ,

University of Utah United States
Known forCoptologist,

Coptic historian

and scholar and an expert in Islamic and Crusades studies.
Awards(Doctor of Letters) University of Liverpool 1938 ,

honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.),

Brigham Young University United States 1967
Scientific career
FieldsCoptology, Author of The Coptic Encyclopedia

published in 1991

New York: Macmillan Publishing Company
InstitutionsFounder of the Institute of Coptic Studies in Cairo in 1950s ,

founder of the Middle East Center,

University of Utah United States
InfluencedLabib Habachi,Sami Gabra

Atiya was the founder of the Institute of Coptic Studies in Cairo in 1950s, and was also the founder of the Middle East Center, University of Utah.[2]

His library, The Aziz Atiya Library for Middle East Studies at University of Utah, is considered the fifth largest such collection in North America and is recognized internationally as a major research library in this field.[3]

While at the University of Utah, Professor Atiya rediscovered ten lost papyri fragments related to the Mormon scripture, Book of Abraham, in the archives of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Atiya published a large study entitled The Crusades in the Later Middle Ages in 1938, and was also the first author of The Coptic Encyclopedia, published in 1991.[4]

The chapters on the Copts in his book The History of Eastern Christianity (1968, 1980) have become landmarks, not only for specialists but also for the general public.[2]

It was Atiya who, after many lively debates with the publishers and their readers, had the words 'Coptology' and 'Coptologist' introduced into the English language.[5]

He could speak English, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Latin, and to a lesser extent, Spanish, Greek, Coptic, Turkish, Welsh, and Dutch.

Academic careerEdit



  • The Arabic Manuscripts of Mount Sinai: A Hand-list of the Arabic Manuscripts and Scrolls Microfilmed at the Library of the Monastery of St. Catherine (1955). ASIN B0006AU4NM.
  • The Coptic Encyclopedia, vol. 1 (1991).[6]
  • The Copts and Christian Civilization (1979). ISBN 978-0-87480-145-3.
  • Crusade, Commerce and Culture (1962). ISBN ASIN B0000CLOTM.
  • The Crusade (1977). ISBN 978-0-8371-8364-0.
  • The Crusade: Historiography and Bibliography (1962). ASIN B0000CLOU1.
  • The Crusade in the Later Middle Ages (1938).[7]
  • The Crusade of Nicopolis (1934).[8]
  • The Crusade (1962). ISBN 978-0-19-690008-7.[9]
  • Egypt and Aragon: Embassies and Diplomatic Correspondence Between 1300 and 1330 A.D. (1966). ASIN B0007J1LYI.
  • A Fourteenth Century Encyclopedist from Alexandria (1977). ASIN B0006XYA4I. About Muḥammad ibn al-Ḳāsim al-Nuwayrī al-Iskandarānī, whose three-volume history of Alexandria Atiya edited and published in six volumes.
  • A History of Eastern Christianity (1980). ISBN 978-0-527-03703-1. This is an expanded edition of the first edition published in 1968. ASIN B000IOZ7AG.
  • The Monastery of St Catherine and the Mount Sinai Expedition (1952). ASIN B0007EBOK4.
  • Atiya published approximately twenty books, many of which are multi-volume projects also journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles, including authoring or co-authoring dozens in the monumental Coptic Encyclopedia.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Egypt Radio[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b Coptology Amazon
  3. ^ Aziz Atiya Library Archived February 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Bibliothèque nationale de France {BnF Data}. "ʿAzīz Sūryāl ʿAṭiyyaẗ (1898-1988)".
  5. ^ John H. Watson, Among the Copts
  6. ^ Atiya, A. Suryal. (1991). The Coptic encyclopedia. New York: Macmillan.
  7. ^ Atiya, A. Suryal. (1938). The crusade in the later middle ages. London: Methuen & co., ltd.
  8. ^ Atiya, A. Suryal., Mézières, P. de., Deschamps, E. (1934). The crusade of Nicopolis. London: Methuen & co. ltd.
  9. ^ Atiya, A. Suryal. (1962). The crusade. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

External linksEdit