"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).

Monday, September 9, 2013

Arab Christians

I have previously expressed my astonishment that in the focus on the Middle East, from the Gulf War of 1991 through the Iraq War of 2003 to the present "debate" about Syria, most Americans singularly fail to recognize how much the actions of their country have contributed to the destruction of native Eastern Christian populations in the area. Few are aware of Eastern Christians, still less Arab Christians. Aren't all Arabs Muslims, people constantly ask me? A recent book should, I hope, disabuse people of this: Raouf Abujaber, Arab Christianity and Jerusalem (Gilgamesh Publications, 2013), 212pp.

About this book we are told:

As the focal point of the three major monotheistic religions, Jerusalem is home to a rich and diverse spread of different religious communities who have a complex history of alliances and rifts. Today's Christian communities are the survivors of the last two centuries of Islamic and Jewish governance, albeit often in the face of seemingly overwhelming challenges. This unique record charts that struggle.  Dr Abujaber's vivid and dramatic account is drawn on extensive personal experience of the Christian families of the Levant region.  Arab Christianity in Jerusalem is unique in blending invaluable first person research with exhaustive research in international archives, weaving the various strands into one comprehensive yet readable account of the life in the Holy City. This landmark
book will be vital to all historians of the region as well as to religious scholars.

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