"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).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Syriac Churches Encountering Islam

Syria was the first Eastern Christian country to be invaded by Arab Muslims in the 630s and 640s. It continues to be a predominantly Muslim country today, but several recent studies have begun to suggest that the plight of Christians in Syria today is far better than it is in Iran, Iraq, or certainly Egypt. Syria, in fact, is perhaps the most tolerant of Muslim countries in the area. Still, there continue to be enormous and important lacuna in the scholarship of Eastern Christian-Muslim encounters, and we do not yet know enough about Christian-Muslim relations in Syria or elsewhere. Every volume that emerges on such relations is to be welcomed, including this new one, published by Gorgias Press, which has an extremely impressive, important, and long list of books devoted to Eastern Christianity, to Islam, and to their encounters:

Dietmar W. Winkler, Syriac Churches Encountering Islam: Past Experiences and Future Perspectives (Gorgias Press, 2010), xii+253pp.

This is the first volume of the new series "Pro Oriente Studies in Syriac Tradition." The Pro Oriente Foundation was set up in 1964 by the late cardinal-archbishop of Vienna to draw the Roman Catholic and Oriental Orthodox Churches closer together. In 2007, under the Foundation's auspices, a conference was held in November in Salzburg on the theme of Syriac Churches and their encounter with Islam.

This is a collection of essays divided into eight sections:
  • Islam in Syriac Sources
  • Syrias Churches at the time of the Four Caliphs
  • Syriac Churches in the Umayyad Period (661-750)
  • Syriac Churches in the Abbasid Period
  • Syriac Churches in the Ottoman Period
  • Indian Experience of Islam
  • Present Situation and Future Perspectives
  • Appendices
This will be expertly reviewed in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies.

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