It has been an interesting week with respect to my research. There has been a setback in my work, but I think it is for the better. One of the scholars reading my work has given me invaluable feedback on my Qualifying Paper and on how to proceed forward.
I need to read all of Habib Jirjis' corpus of writing chronologically in order to plot out the major ideas Habib Jirjis focused on. Also it will provide me with a relative chronology for when Jirjis was occupied with and adressed specific issues over his long career. It will also enable me to identify thematic passages.
This requires taking extensive notes on Habib Jirjis' writings. This is a very large project. Habib Jirjis wrote over thirty books, many articles and was the editor in chief of The Vine Journal which he published monthly for seventeen years and wrote many of its articles.
Then there is secondary sources that speak about Habib Jirjis that need to be read and extensive notes to be taken on them. But this is not the end, for there is also important tertiary sources that speak about a variety of subjects including, education in Egypt, in the Church, the political situation in Egypt, the history of the Church at the time, the work of the foreign missionaries and its effect on the Copts and much more.
So you see, this is not a normal thesis in my opinion, but requires much research and digging to find relevant material including rare Egyptian newspapers that may have written about Habib Jirjis or that he may have written articles in such newspapers or may even contain articles on Education in Egypt.
I have found that the more you read, the more you discover. As my professors have also told me, do not aim for perfection and you can fall into the trap of writing too much. So, I need to learn the skills of how to trim what is not necessary for this study, and what can be added later in future articles or even books.
So, now I feel the mountain has tripled in size at least with the task that is ahead of me. I believe that Habib Jirjis has not been given his rightful position within Egyptian history and is hardly mentioned in books and studies about the Middle East. It is high time for a proper academic study of this outstanding figure to be commenced and completed.
I do need many prayers to begin and complete this mammoth task.