|Coordinatore||UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN
address: Place De L'Universite 1
|Nazionalità Coordinatore||Belgium [BE]|
|Totale costo||148˙556 €|
|EC contributo||148˙556 €|
Specific programme "People" implementing the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (2007 to 2013)
|Anno di inizio||2008|
|Periodo (anno-mese-giorno)||2008-06-20 - 2010-06-19|
UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN
address: Place De L'Universite 1
|BE (LOUVAIN LA NEUVE)||coordinator||0.00|
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'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.'
A new edition of a book written by a bishop who lived in the tenth and eleventh centuries has been produced. The work of Palestinian Christian bishop of Gaza, Sulayman ibn Hasan al-Gazzi, was the focus of this EU-funded project.
The 'Cultural variety in the Christian Orient: Christian Arabic language and literature in the Middle Ages' (Cocallma) project partners applied the neo-Lachmannian form of literary criticism to the manuscript, and carefully analysed its written language. The text has been written in middle or mixed Arabic, which was used in the Medieval period by the Orthodox Arabic Melkite Church.
Project activities have concentrated on the retrieval and collation of manuscripts and the identification of the author's sources. Research missions have been carried out by project partners, including a study of the Christian Arabic texts held at the National Library of France, in Paris.
The result has been the identification and study of a new source, which contained fragments of the famous Muslim encyclopaedic collection known as 'The epistles of the Brethren of Purity'. This has been a significant discovery as it reveals similarities between the Bishop of Gaza's work and the Epistles, rendering it possible that al-Gazzi was familiar with the Brethren of Purity.
Later studies have revealed, however, that the main source has been the 'Book of demonstration' by the 12th century Arab mathematician Abu Bakr al-Hassar. This book, together with the theological writings of Theodore Abu Qurra and John of Damascus, has influenced Palestinian Christian literature produced in the Middle Ages.
A new edition of the Sulayman ibn Hasan al-Gazzi's work will enable better understanding of Palestinian theological thought during the Fatimid era. Furthermore, it will help to reveal how the circulation of literary texts in the premodern Arabic world was not restricted by religion.
Oriental Christianity is a promising field of research which helps us to understand how knowledge has been transferred from the East to the West and to consider the centuries-old cohabitation between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East. This information is highly relevant as it enables a more informed understanding of the current political and religious challenges facing Europe.
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