Newsletter – February 2017

Dear Friends,

Last February 22nd and 23rd the IDEO had the pleasure of being part of the official resumption of the dialogue between al-Azhar and the Vatican which had been interrupted since 2006. Even though informal meetings never ceased, it was the first time that the two important delegations met in an official capacity. The fifteen member delegation from the Vatican included three from IDEO: Frs Fadi Daou, Amir Jajé, OP and Jean Druel, OP. The delegations engaged in an exchange on the topic of extremism and violence through six lectures (three from each side).  Both sides are committed to meet every year in Cairo at the end of February on the anniversary of John Paul II’s visit to al-Azhar in 2000.

Al-Azhar – IDEO Seminar

On February 18th, the first meeting of a new collaboration between al-Azhar and the IDEO on the question of extremism took place (see photo). The topic chosen was “Extremism: History, Definition, and Diagnosis”. Starting with a definition of “extremism” as “a deviation from a social norm made in the name of the norm itself”, we discussed the status of the values on which norms are based. These values should be distinguished from absolute ideals (such as “Truth” or “Beauty”). Thus, as one cannot be in the extreme while pursuing such absolutes, normative values can lead to extremism as soon as one loses a “proper balance”.


On February 2nd, Emmanuel Pisani, OP gave a lecture on the topic “Islam: Open Religion, Closed Religion?” at the Decere Center in Strasbourg (France).

On February 3rd, Michel Cuypers, OP gave a lecture on the topic “Rhetorical Analysis: A New Discipline for Qur’anic Exegesis”, in Paris, as part of a seminar entitled “History of the Qur’anic Text between Late Antiquity and the Establishment of Islamic Orthodoxies” organized by the IISMM (Institute for Islamic Studies and Societies of the Muslim World) at the EHESS (School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Paris).

On February 21st, Emmanuel Pisani, OP gave a lecture on the topic “A Muslim Vision of the Other with al-Ġazālī” at the Maïmonide Academic Institute of Montpellier.

On February 22nd, Emmanuel Pisani, OP gave a lecture on the topic “Thinking about ‘Otherness’ in Islam” at Cambacérès Circle of Montpellier.

IDEO Seminars

On February 14th, Giuseppe Scattolin, Professor of Sufism and Islamology, gave a seminar with Mr. ʿAbd al-Samīʿ Salāma, editor of manuscripts at the Egyptian National Library, on the topic of “The First Edition of the Commentary by al-Tilimsānī (d. 690/1291) on the Poem by ʿUmar ibn al-Fāriḍ (d. 632/1235)”. They edited this commentary according to the only known manuscript (Dār al-Kutub 1328 Taṣawwuf Ṭalʿat). It is clear from the text that al-Tilimsānī took advantage of his commentary on the Tāʾiyya al-kubrā to criticize some of al-Farġānī’s ideas, at the expense of the text of the Tāʾiyya and Ibn al-Farīḍ’s positions on Sufism. Read the report …

Other Lectures

On February 1st, Emmanuel Pisani, OP led a round table with Jean Jacques Pérennès, OP, Maurice Borrmans, and Augustin Jomier at the ISTR in Paris, in cooperation with The Friends of IDEO Association on the topic of fr. Jomier’s Confidences.

On February 23rd, Jean Jacques Pérennès, OP took part in a lecture organized by Corvinus University of Budapest (Hungary) on the occasion of the 800th Anniversary of the Dominican Order. The topic of his lecture was “Christian-Muslim Relationships in the Light of Vatican II and the Present Realities of the World”. The proceedings will be published in the future.


On February 4th, we welcomed for lunch Mr. Michel Foucher, specialist in geopolitics and a true connoisseur of the Arab world.

On February 7th, we welcomed for lunch Mr. Georg Stillfried, the Ambassador of Austria. He was accompanied by Mrs. Ulrike Nguyễn, First Counselor of the Embassy.

On February 19th, we welcomed for lunch Mr. Stéphane Chouin of the National Library of France, Mrs. Marie-Dominique Nenna from The Center for Alexandrian Studies, Mr. Nicolas Michel, and Mrs. Agnès Macquin from IFAO, who are partners of the Levant Libraries Portal of BnF.

On February 21st, we welcomed for lunch Mr. Nadim Ammann, who is responsible for projects of international cooperation for the Diocese of Cologne.

On February 26th, we welcomed for lunch Mrs. Inès Ben Kraïem, head of the media department at the French Embassy, and Mr. Samer al-Atrush, number two of the AFP office in Cairo.

On February 27th, we welcomed for lunch Mrs. Catherine Le Thomas from the French Embassy and Mr. Andrea Benzo, First Secretary at the Italian Embassy.

The Scholars’ House

During the month of February, we had the pleasure to receive at the Scholars’ House Mrs. Emilly Cottrell, a French historian, Mr. Nicolas Benoît, PhD geographer at the Paris-Sorbonne University, and Mr. Stéphane Chouin from the National Library of France.


Rémi Chéno, OP. Dieu au pluriel: Penser les religions, Paris, Éditions du Cerf, 2017, 160 pages.

Dennis Halft, OP “Towards a New Perception of Islam: The Influence of Marie-Dominique Chenu’s Theology of Incarnation on Christian-Muslim Relations”, in M. Attridge, D. Dias, M. Eaton, and N. Olkovich, eds, The Promise of Renewal: Dominicans and Vatican II, Adelaide: ATF Theology, 2017, 225‒239.

Dominique Avon et Amin Elias, « La liberté de conscience, mère des libertés », Mon Liban. Read the article…

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