"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Friday, January 15, 2016

Muslim-Christian Relations in Ottoman Palestine

I have noted many books over the years about Ottoman history, especially the history of Muslim-Christian relations in the empire. I have also noted the perduring problem of ethno-nationalism as it has afflicted, and still afflicts, not just Eastern Christian groups but Muslim ones as well.

A book set for release later this spring looks at all these questions: Erik Freas, Muslim-Christian Relations in Late-Ottoman Palestine: Where Nationalism and Religion Intersec (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 320pp.

About this book we are told by the publisher:
Numerous factors underlie the dynamic shaping of present-day Muslim-Christian Arab relations as well as the formulation of Arab national identity. In Muslim-Christian Relations in Late-Ottoman Palestine, Erik Freas argues that paramount among these were three developments that transpired in the late-Ottoman period, of which Palestine provides a microcosm. One is that non-Arabic speaking Christian communities began to define identity in nationalistic terms on the basis of faith. Also, with their transformation into politically equal Ottoman citizens, Christians were more intent on taking advantage of their new rights rather than fulfilling civil obligations. Finally, for most Muslim Arabs, the transition from identifying primarily as 'Muslim' to 'Arab' in terms of their broader communal affiliation often entailed little change in how they experienced communal identity in the day-to-day. Taken together, the analysis of these developments provides an in-depth examination of Muslim-Christian Arab relations in Palestine during the nineteenth century as well as the long-term implications of these changes on the manner of Arab national identity's formulation.

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