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The Imam of the ChristiansThe World of Dionysius of Tel-Mahre, c. 750-850$
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Philip Wood

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780691212791

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691212791.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Imam of the Christians

Philip Wood

Princeton University Press

This chapter provides a background on the life and times of Dionysius of Tel-Mahre, who was was al-Maʾmun's contemporary and a client of his general ʿAbd Allah ibn Tahir. It details how ʿAbd Allah supported Dionysius to retain the patriarchate in the teeth of the complaints of rivals. It also talks about Dionysius' links with ʿAbd Allah that allowed Dionysius to act as a representative of the caliph in Egypt. The chapter details how Christian institutions were strengthened by the support they received from the caliph's government. It mentions that Christian leaders were able to gather tithes and issue legislation that is facilitated by official support in the recognition of an official patriarch and the use of coercion against recalcitrant clergy during an era when the reach of government was becoming deeper and more effective.

Keywords:   Dionysius, Tel-Mahre, ʿAbd Allah ibn Tahir, caliph, official patriarch, ʿAbd Allah, al-Maʾmun

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