Mount Sinai

George Manginis

George Manginis, with a scholarly knowledge of Islamic history and experience of digging archeologically on the dangerously electric summit of Mount Sinai, gives an engrossing account of the effect that this is indeed the Mountain of the Law.

‘…the memorable story, enlivened by visitors’ accounts, of the reputed spot where God came down to teach Moses.’

‘Unlike most existing literature, Manginis’ book does not discuss or illustrate the unique collection of manuscripts and icons in St Catherine’s. Instead it offers a different perspective and a fascinating story of the enduring appeal of Sinai over a period of nearly two millenia.’
History Today



Lucid and original; a veritable feast of interesting stories about Mt Sinai’s extraordinary past.
Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads

As a traveller and pilgrim to Sinai on numerous occasions and now a Trustee of the St Catherine’s Foundation, I greatly enjoyed Georged Manginis’s Mount Sinai and learnt much from it… The book is a learned and delightful compassion to God-trodden Sinai.
Richard Chartres, ex-Bishop of London

This book is an absolute mine of riches, reflection, and information… I would strongly encourage anyone to pay a visit to this remarkable place of history, holiness and tradition.
Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

This book gives an invaluable insight into the evolution over two millennia of Mount Sinai as a sacred sight and a palace of spiritual quest.
H.R.H Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan

George Manginis has trawled archives and published accounts to create the biography of the mountain, telling the story of the devout, the scholars and the tourists who have helped shape its history. His book is likely to stand as the last word on one of the world’s most enduring places, unless an angel appears to tell the divine side of the story.
Anthony Sattin, author of Young Lawrence

‘[Mount Sinai] is rich in detail, agile in narrative, and evocative in mood’
Nick Baines’s Blog


Mount Sinai: A History of Travellers and Pilgrims examines the history of Hagia Koryphē (in Greek) or Jabal Mūsā (in Arabic), a mountain peak above the Monastery of St Catherine at South Sinai in Eygpt, known for centuries as the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, as described in Exodus.

The book explores the ways in which the landscape of the summit was experienced and transformed using textual criticism, historical analysis, art history, and, for the first time, archeological interpretation. Beginning in the third century, when the identification with the biblical Mount Sinai’ established, the narrative extends through to the early twentieth century. Covering the natural environment, the Bedouin and early Christians, the importance of Mount Sinai in Muslim tradition, the cult of St Catherine, pilgrimage, as well as the scholarly, artistic and tourist phenomenon of the nineteenth century, Mount Sinai: A History of Travellers and Pilgrims is a comprehensive and complete history of this remarkable place.

GEORGE MANGINIS is an archeologist. He has taught Byzantine, Islamic, and Chinese Art History at the University of Edinburgh, SOAS, and the New College of the Humanists in London. In 2013 he was a Stanley J. Seeger Fellow at Princeton University, researching the Chinese art collection of the Benaki Museum, Athens.

Also by this author, China Rediscovered.

Follow George on Twitter @GeorgeManginis

Listen to Geroge on the Arts in Isolation podcast by Asia House here.

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