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Cultural variety in the Christian Orient: Christian Arabic Language and Literature in the Middle Ages


This project aims to suggest the study of a set of Arabic texts written by a Palestinian Christian Bishop who lived in a period of persecutions against Christians under the Fatimid (Shia) Islamic caliphate (IX-XI centuries AD). This type of texts is of a major historical relevance, dealing as they are with relations between Christians and Muslims, which at times are linked to political and social tensions even today, in Europe as well as in the Muslim World it self. Our enquiry will address problems relating to linguistic and religious features, as well as questions of cultural interest. The language used is known as Middle Arabic, a kind of written Arabic that we find in medieval manuscripts as well as in present day linguistic settings. For the cultural aspects we will study the inter-textual relations to be found in patristic and classical culture, Christian Arabic Literature and Islamic sources. Within this framework the Christian Orient and its literatures are rarely taken into consideration but definitely deserve to be studied and considered in the light of the present day historical-political conjuncture. To achieve the objectives of the proposal, an extended scholarly sojourn at the Université Catholique de Louvain is foreseen, allowing me to further my studies of Syriac, as well as several missions to the Middle East for the purpose of cataloguing and analyzing new manuscript sources. The study of Oriental Christianity represents an outstandingly promising field of research since it allows us to understand the fundamental link for the transmission of knowledge from East to West as well as to reconsider the centuries-old cohabitation between Christians and Muslims in the Arab East, the correct knowledge of which is far from irrelevant for a proper understanding of present political and religious challenges in Europe.

Call for proposal

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Place de l universite 1
1348 Louvain la neuve

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Région wallonne Prov. Brabant Wallon Arr. Nivelles
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Johannes Den Heijer (Prof.)
EU contribution
No data