Newsletter January-February 2022

Happy are the Islamic Scholars who probe the literature of lovers! Simply open the edition of Leyli and Majnûn which has just been published to understand that it is not a rhetorical bliss. What a beautiful book, and how the translation is fine, subtle, poetic, inebriating, touching. It is signed by our colleague from the French National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO), Leili Anvar who, once again, brightens us up with her pen and her carefully chosen words to express the search for truth and beauty within harmonic and musical combinations that join the deep meaning of Persian words. Throughout its history, the researchers of the IDEO, following the example of Serge de Beaurecueil, Giuseppe Scattolin and Alberto Ambrosio, did not fail to scrutinize the best stories, those of love and lovers. These stories narrate a spiritual journey, a yearning of the soul for union, and a graceful guidance. But if this ecstasy experienced by lovers can partly reveal the sublime reality of God, would God himself be love? And can we sincerely love God since human love is so fleeting and ambivalent? Didn’t Louis Massignon say during an interview on France Culture that “We love our infidelities”? However, the figures of the mystical lover tend towards that of apparent beauty to the point that God could be seen, in a radical reading, as the only one worthy of being loved. What is to be found through the twists and turns of theological discussions on the Lover and the Beloved, in the interstices of love stories and metaphors, in these contrasting and paradoxical spiritual expressions that run through the Islamic heritage, is the revelation of an ontological dignity, that of man in search of Love.

*Leyli et Majnûn of Jâmi illustrated by oriental miniatures, translation from Persian and notes by Leili Anvar, Preface by Leili Anvar, scientific direction of the iconography, introductions and comments of the works by Patrick Ringgenberg and Amina Taha-Hussein Okada, Paris, Diane de Selliers, 2021.

Contributions

On January 11ᵗʰ, Dennis Halft, OP gave an online talk entitled “Muslim Perspectives on the Holy Land” during a research program on Jewish-Christian dialogue at the University of Salzburg in Austria.

On January 20ᵗʰ, Mr. Dominque Avon made a contribution entitled “Jacques Ellul and Islam. Analysis of a speech and its reception”, during the conference “Protestantism and Islam, comparative points of view (16ᵗʰ/-21ˢᵗ centuries)”, organized by the Protestant Institute of Theology at the Faculty of Paris.

“Midan Mounira” lecture

On January 25ᵗʰ, Professor Jaafar Ben el Haj Soulami gave an online lecture as part of the “Midan Mounira” series, co-organized by the IDEO, the CEDEJ, the IFAO and the IFE. This lecture was entitled “Is Islamic Sufism essentially poetic?” Read the report and watch the lecture (in French…)

IFAO-IDEO (pre-)doctoral scholarship 2022‒2023

The IFAO and the IDEO are pleased to announce the release of the call for applications for their joint ten-month scholarship in Cairo (September 2022June 2023). This scholarship is open to Pre- PhD and PhD students in kalām, falsafa and classical Arabic linguistics. Deadline for applications: April 30ᵗʰ, 2022. For more information (in French…)

Volunteering

The IDEO offers an opportunity for a young French or English speaker to complete a volunteer mission for 6 or 12 months starting from September 2022 in the Dominican brothers’ convent. Please check the job description on our website (in French)…

Visits

On January 26ᵗʰ, we welcomed a group of thirty people from the French-speaking association Caire Accueil for a visit of the IDEO and a presentation of the meaning of the Dominican presence in Egypt.

Scholars’ House

In December we had the pleasure to receive in the Scholars’ House Ms. Ida Nitter, PhD student in Islamic studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Ms. Antoinette Ferrand, PhD student in the history of contemporary Egypt at the Sorbonne University, and Mrs. Catherine Mayeur-Jaouen, IDEO’s member and Professor of modern and contemporary history of the Arab and Islamic world at the Sorbonne University.

Cairo International Book Fair

The Cairo International Book Fair started on Wednesday January 26ᵗʰ. The entire library team is mobilized, under the direction of Mr. Magdi Azab.

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