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The Prophet's PulpitIslamic Preaching in Contemporary Egypt$
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Patrick Gaffney

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780520084711

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520084711.001.0001

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The Sermon as Public Discourse

The Sermon as Public Discourse

(p.113) 5 The Sermon as Public Discourse
The Prophet's Pulpit

Patrick D. Gaffney

University of California Press

The era following World War I was characterized throughout the Middle East by a growing anti-colonial sentiment. The attempt to fuse the primordial ties represented by Islam with the loyalties characteristic of a modern political community has been variously described. This chapter provides an ethnographic investigation of preachers and sermons in a provincial capital. It becomes evident that an official strategy of appropriating traditional religious symbols in the course of what amounts to a power struggle between different social groups and rival interests can very quickly blur any boundaries that might normally obtain between zeal for piety's sake and straightforward political activism. The preacher has emerged in very recent times in Egypt as a pivotal figure in the redefining of symbols imparting the religious legitimation and moral affirmation of new social, political, and economic options.

Keywords:   Middle East, Islam, traditional religious symbols, political activism, zeal, preacher, Egypt

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