Posted by: Patrick Allen Foster | January 7, 2015

Asylum in Egypt

Flight Into Egypt 1923 Henry Ossawa Tanner

At Crooked Timber, Chris Bertram reflects on the flight to Egypt in Matthew’s Gospel:

Joseph, Mary and Jesus were able to get asylum in Egypt, having, as they did, a well-founded fear of persecution, and when it was safe for them to return, they did. Today, by contrast, wealthy states (like the Egypt of the time) do all they can to prevent those fleeing political or religious persecution from getting across the border. The barriers are such that many people take desperate risks to escape the regimes they are threatened by in Syria or Eritrea, and end up drowning in the Mediterranean. Those that do make it are often disbelieved, stigmatized as “bogus” asylum-seekers, and even prosecuted for using false documents to enter.

Image Credit: Henry Ossawa Tanner, Flight Into Egypt, 1923. Currently housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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