"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, January 20, 2014

Syriac Christianity in India

Too often today when people think of the "Middle East" they think it's a Muslim stronghold--which in many places it is, and may well become totally given the persecution of Christians in places like Egypt and Syria--but there are of course longstanding Christian roots there. And too often when people think of India they think it's a Muslim-Hindu country, which it is in large part, but here again there is a substantial Christian majority. In both places, Syriac Christianity has played a long and large role, and a new book published this month helps us understand that tradition which Sebastian Brock famously called the "third lung" (apart from the Latin and Greek) of apostolic Christianity: Dietmar Winkler, Syriac Christianity in the Middle East and India: Contributions and Challenges (Gorgias Press, 2014), 182pp.

About this book we are told by the publisher:
The present volume acknowledges the contributions of Syriac Christians in the fields of culture, education and civil society throughout the history in the Middle East and India, and examines the challenges of living and professing the Christian faith as a minority in a multi-religious and pluralistic society, giving special attention to religious freedom and personal status. It deals with the experience of Christian-Muslim co-existence in the context of the present states of the Middle East, and with the experience of Christian-Hindu co-existence in India. The book also elaborates the vital problem of continuous emigration of Christians from India and the Middle East, which is particularly for the latter a serious problem and challenge. To support Christianity in the Middle East and the dialogue of the Churches among themselves and with Judaism and Islam, Pope Benedict XVI visited the Holy Land in 2009. Frans Bowen gives a profound analysis of the visit and the perspectives after the Pope’s visit in the last part of the book.
The publisher also gives us a detailed table of contents, which you may read here.

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