Newsletter — November 2017

Dear friends,

The finesse of the debates that we are witnesses to — be it in our common projects, seminars, lectures, at the defense of doctoral theses, or during the visits we receive — contrasts cruelly with the violence that has one again struck innocent people last November 24th in the Al-Rawḍa Mosque located between Biʾr al-ʿAbd and al-ʿArīsh. A moment of silence was observed at several academic events over the last few days. Perhaps this is the best way to bridge this harsh gap between the careful and passionate search for truth and the blind violence of those who believe that the quest for the truth can justify murder.


On November 7th, Jean Druel, OP led seminar on the topic “The word āmīn in Arabic”. The word āmīn ­is not an Arabic word, however it is well attested to in the adīṯ that the Prophet and his companions would conclude the recitation of the first sūra, al-Fātiḥa, by saying “āmīn.” This fact has triggered the curiosity of both Qurʾānic commentators and grammarians. Click here to read the report…

On November 13th, Mateus Domingues Da Silva, OP presented his PhD research on the philosophy of Šihāb al-Din al-Suhrawardī (d. 587/1191), especially his theory of knowledge.  Al-Suhrawardī reverses the theory of  Avicenna (428/1037), considering that knowledge par excellence is the direct and immediate apprehension of things in the soul, as in a mirror, and not at their first discursive intellection. For al-Suhrawardī, there is an analogy between how God and humans know things.

On November 27th the fifth meeting of our cooperative seminar with al-Azhar took place, which was dedicated to the theme of “literalism.” Literalism consists of not only the refusal of allegorical, symbolic or mystical readings, but also the belief that the intention of the author is immediately accessible and transparent in the letter of the text, without the use of the tools of interpretation, such as linguistics, literary forms, history, anthropology, sociology, etc. Click here to read the report…


On November 9th, Dennis Halft, OP gave a lecture entitled “Judaeo-Persian Bible Translations in a Shiite Milieu”, at the international conference “The Bible in Arabic: Jewish and Christian Translations, Muslim Interpretations. State of the Art and Future Prospects” at Tel Aviv University, Israel.

On November 14th, Amir Jajé, OP took part in a round table discussion at the College of Bernardins in Paris titled “Eastern Christians: from spirituality to citizenship”. Click here to watch the video online…

From November 27‒29th, Amir Jajé, OP and Jean Jacques Pérennès, OP participated at the French School of Rome at a conference titled “In partibus fidelium: Missions of the Levant and knowledge of the Christian East (XIX‒XXI centuries)”. The presentation of Amir Jajé, OP was entitled “The Discovery of the Church of Kokhé: The Dawn of the Christian Faith in Mesopotamia”, and that of Jean Jacques Pérennès “The printing house of the Dominicans in Mosul at the end of the 19ᵗʰ century: a contribution to the cultural memory of the Eastern Christians”.

Cooperation agreement

We are glad to announce the signing of a cooperative agreement with Tafsir Center for Quranic Studies (Riyad) that will enable us to organize common research projects, conferences, lectures and workshops in the field of Qurʾānic studies.


On November 7th, we welcomed New York Times journalist Mr. Declan Walsh for lunch.

On November 23rd, we welcomed Mr. Péter Kveck, Ambassador of Hungary, and Mr. Attila Szvétek, his cultural counselor. They were accompanied by Fathers Csaba Böjte, Franciscan, Szabolcs Sajgó, Jesuit, and Mr. György Hölvényi, member of the European Parliament, who are working on a project for a film about Egyptian Christians.

On November 30th, we welcomed Mr. Samer al-Atrush from the AFP news agency in Cairo for lunch.

Scholars’ House

In November, we had the pleasure of receiving at the Scholars’ House Mr. Hugues Lefèvre, journalist for the French magazine Famille chrétienne, Mrs. Rachida Chih, researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Mr. Mark Nyvlt, professor of philosophy at the Dominican University in Ottawa, Mr. Guillaume Lurton, teacher at the University of Poitiers, Mr. András Szenczi and Ms. Zsuzsanna Csorba, PhD students at Catholic University of Hungary.

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