Newsletter — September 2021

Dear friends,

In September, we welcomed the President and the Secretary General of the association “The Friends of the IDEO”. Jean Félix-Paganon knows Cairo well. He was an ambassador here. Bertrand Wallon knows the library world well. He was Director of Human Resources at the French National Library. It is unnecessary to say that their presence and their encouragement were very precious to us. Their suggestions and advice stimulated us, and their questions often allowed us to see things differently, outside the box. How important are questions in discussions and reflection! It is said in Islamic tradition, which has a certain Talmudic echo, that one evening an old shaykh, in love with wisdom and science, was in tears. Why are you crying, o holy old man? Because today nobody asked me any questions*! Questions, thanks God, friends have asked us! In this regard, if you would like to get involved with us or support our activities in Cairo, you may become an member of the association “The Friends of the IDEO”. In addition, and it is always good to know, by joining, you can benefit from substantial tax deductions in France, in the United States. Thank you in advance.

* Ghazālī, Kitāb al-ʿilm, al-Qāhira, Dār al-Salām, 2007, B1, f. 3, p. 20.


On September 11ᵗʰ, Dennis Halft, OP gave a lecture in Berlin on an Orthodox Jewish perspective on Christianity and Islam after the Shoah from the writings of André Neher (1914-1988), as part of an international conference entitled “Glorification of differences” (Michel de Certeau SJ) which honored the birthday of Ulrich Engel, OP.


On September 3ʳᵈ, we welcomed a group of twenty people from the Center Sard, that works on archiving the Shubra district.

On September 5ᵗʰ, we welcomed Mrs. Siga Maguiraga, PhD student in History of Islamicate Worlds at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy).

On September 14ᵗʰ, we welcomed Mr. Nadir Boudjellal, PhD student at the INALCO in Paris, and who works on isolated letters in the Qurʾān.

On September 15ᵗʰ, we welcomed Mr. Mourad al-Riffi, the new director of the Institute of Arab Manuscripts, who arrived three weeks ago in Cairo.

On September 18ᵗʰ, we welcomed Mr. Oussama Nabil, Chargé de Mission at the Mashyakha and committed to al-Azhar Observatory for Combating Extremism, and Mr. Sami Mandour, professor at the Faculty of Languages and Translation at the University of al-Azhar.

On September 20ᵗʰ, we welcomed Mr. Said Azer, director of the Syro-Catholic library in Cairo and his assistant, Mr. Carlo Pietro Giorgi, along with Father Vincenzo Ianniello, director and librarian of the Franciscan Center for Oriental Christian Studies (Mousky).

On September 21ˢᵗ, we welcomed Mrs. Mona Sabry, director of the French Language Teaching Center of al-Azhar.

From September 25ᵗʰ‒29ᵗʰ, we welcomed Mr. Jean Félix-Paganon and Mr. Bertrand Wallon from the association “The Friends of the IDEO”, along with Mr. François Druel, who is currently launching the association “LRM Cataloging Solutions” that takes over the development and distribution of the application Diamond.

From September 26ᵗʰ‒28ᵗʰ, we also received Nicolas Tixier, OP the Provincial of Province of France, and from September 26ᵗʰ‒30ᵗʰ, Rémi Chéno, OP, regent of studies.

Scholars’ House

On September 25ᵗʰ, the IFAO/IDEO intern, Mickaël Massey, has arrived at the Scholars’ House for a year-long stay of research.

Upcoming Activities

On October 16ᵗʰ and 17ᵗʰ, 2021, the IDEO is organizing in Cairo its fourth conference entitled “The Cairo Edition of the Qurʾān, 1924”. The conference is under the scientific direction of Mrs. Asma Hilali, and in partnership with the European Union as part of the project Adawāt. Click here to download the program and to join us online …

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Newsletter July 2024

The second phase of the Bibliothèques d’Orient project is coming to an end. The National Library of France (BnF) and the Bibliothèques d’Orient network organized three study days dedicated to the challenges of digitization from June 18 to 20. Supported by the Mellon Foundation and ALIPH, the goal was to unveil the documentary treasures of the Middle East through collaboration with prestigious libraries and institutions. This partnership with fourteen establishments across Egypt, Jerusalem, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey, in collaboration with Gallica—the BnF’s free-access digital library—has already enabled the digitization of some remarkable works, offering a window into the cultural history of the Middle East. Guided by curators and expert researchers from the BnF, participants explored various collections, including those of the IDEO library, a partner since the project’s inception in 2016. Mr. Magdi Azab, Mrs. Engy Elgammal, and Mateus Domingues da Silva, OP represented our library and graced the event with their presence. It should be reiterated that the IDEO library has significantly contributed to the identification and enhancement of essential documentary collections of Islamic heritage in Arabic, and we assure the BnF of our commitment to continue participating in this remarkable initiative. Lectures and talks On June 13ᵗʰ, Jean Jacques Pérennès, OP gave a lecture in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique) on the topic of “Eastern Christians in a Middle East in Crisis: Situation and Perspectives”. From June 24ᵗʰ to 26ᵗʰ, Claudio Monge, OP with Father Christophe Roucou, led a working group entitled “Islamo-Christian dialogue and paths to reconciliation”, during the conference organized by the Mediterranean Theological Network, in Palermo. LRM-CS On June 13ᵗʰ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP, Jean Druel, OP and René-Vincent du Grandlaunay, OP participated in the General Assembly of the LRM-CS association. Scientific Council On June 21ˢᵗ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP participated in the Scientific Council of the Bibliothèques d’Orient website. Framework agreement On June 6ᵗʰ, IDEO signed a framework agreement with the Center for education, training, and documentation on Islamo-Christian dialogue and integral development (CEFDICDI) in Dakar, founded by Pierre-Marie Niang, OP. Invitation On June 12ᵗʰ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP was invited by the Egyptian Geographical Society (EGS) to their event, “Promoting Ethnographic and Geographic Cultures through the Eye of the Egyptian Geographical Society and its Ethnographic Museum”, held at the Ethnographic Museum of Cairo. Library During the Bibliothèques d’Orient days organized by the National Library of France (BnF), from June 18ᵗʰ to 20ᵗʰ, the management of the IDEO library, made up of its director Mateus Domingues da Silva, OP and his two assistants Mrs. Engy Elgammal and Mr. Magdi Azab were invited to Paris. During these days, on June 20ᵗʰ, Mateus Domingues da Silva, OP gave a talk entitled “Les ouvrages de turāṯ dans les collections de l’Idéo. [Turāṯ’s works in the IDEO collections]”. Podcast On July 1ˢᵗ, the Oasis Foundation released a podcast presenting the IDEO: “Un convento nel cuore del Cairo. I domenicani che studiano l’Islam. [A convent in the heart of Cairo. The Dominicans who study Islam]”. The podcast is available in Italian… Visits On June 11ᵗʰ, we welcomed Mr. Éric Chevallier, Ambassador of France to Egypt. He was accompanied by Ms. Camille Thiébaut, Political Counselor of the French Embassy, in charge of religious affairs. Scholars’ House In June, we had the pleasure of welcoming at the Scholars’ House Mr. Nadir Boudjellal, a PhD student in medieval and modern Arabic studies; Mr. Gregory Vandamme, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chester (United Kingdom) and beneficiary of the IFI-IDEO-IFAO scholarship; and Ms. Eszter Csontos, a PhD student at the Avicenna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies in Piliscsaba, Hungary. Publications Claudio Monge, Strangers with God: A Theology of Hospitality in the Three Abrahamic Religions, ATF Press, Brompton, Australia, 2024. Claudio Monge, Per una Teologia dell’ospitalità, Terra Santa, Mi, 2024 Claudio Monge, en collaboration avec Giuseppina De Simone, La misura mediterranea dell’umano, Castelvecchi, Roma, 2024. Claudio Monge, I trappisti di Tibhirine e la svolta di una “chiesa della relazione”, in “Cristianesimo nella storia, Ricerche storiche, esegetiche, teologiche” 2/2023, pp. 483-502.

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Newsletter June 2024

May saw the inauguration of the Anawati Chair’s the “Religions and humanities” certificate, under the direction of Aziz Hilal. This innovative course brought together contemporary Muslim thinkers who are re-thinking the theoretical framework of classical theological approaches. We also invited erudite professors who provided a comprehensive overview of the current state of research in the history of religions and social sciences. These works have often been published in European languages, and sometimes, but not systematically, in Arabic. This certificate offers an opportunity to broaden the horizons of Egyptian students from various backgrounds and institutions. After the presentations by the speakers, there followed a sometimes lively, but always respectful and high-quality debate. During the month of June, each participant will write a personnel essay evaluating the relevance of the teachings provided over the course of the four sessions. They must produce a personal critique, demonstrating their ability to adopt a critical distance towards works whose theses or projects may sometimes be tentative, but which merit reflection and challenge certain preconceived ideas. The fight against religious extremism relies on our ability to be challenged by the social sciences. It is in this spirit that we celebrate the success of this certificate program. May it be the cornerstone of our intellectual and educational commitment against the instrumentalization of religions. Anawati Chair Certificate in “Religions and human sciences” The “Religions and human sciences” certificate covers a course based on sociology, anthropology, psychology, history and political science. The course, held in Arabic, took place every Friday in May at the IDEO’s premises. The Chair had the honor to welcome the following speakers: On May 10ᵗʰ, Prof. Mohamed Haddad, a Tunisian thinker and philosopher, gave a lecture on the topic “What does it mean to reform religion?”. On May 17ᵗʰ, Prof. Jabbar al-Refae, an Iraqi thinker, gave a lecture on the topic “Religion versus the new human sciences: For a New Theology”. On May 24ᵗʰ, Prof. Nader Hammami, a Tunisian lecturer, gave a lecture on the topic “Religion between historical discourse and the constants of belief”. On May 31ˢᵗ, Prof. Abdel Gawad Yassin, an Egyptian thinker, gave a lecture on the topic “Constants and variables in the religious system”. Seminar “Salaf in the classical age. Building an authority figure” On May 21ˢᵗ, Adrien Candiard, OP, member of IDEO and specialist in Islamic studies gave the lecture “The authority of silence”, a general conclusion of the seminar. Lectures and talks On May 15ᵗʰ, Jean Jacques Pérennès gave a lecture in Tréguier on the topic “The Spiritual marks of the Monks of Tibhirine (Algeria)”. On May 22ⁿᵈ, Dennis Halft, OP, gave an online lecture on the topic “Discussing the Bible and the Qurʾān: A Hitherto Unknown Missionary’s Work in Persian from Early Modern Times”, during the panel “Mirrors of Truth: Paradigm Shifts in Indo-Persian Missions and Interreligious Polemics’”, Session II, at the European Academy of Religion, in Palermo. On May 22ⁿᵈ, Dennis Halft, OP, gave a lecture on the topic Polemical Works by Jewish Converts to Islam – A Subgenre of Muslim Anti-Jewish Polemical Literature? Some Evidence from Persian Texts”, Lecture at the Research Group “Judæo-Persian and Persian Textual Landscapes: Towards an Intellectual History of Medieval Iranian Jewry”, at Israël Institute for Advanced Studies, in Jerusalem. On May 23ʳᵈ, during the study days “al-ʿaql wa-l-īmān [Reason and faith]”, organized by IDEO and the Franciscan Cultural Center, Emmanuel Pisani, OP gave a talk entitled “Al ʿaql wa-l-nūr fī fikr al-Imān al-Ġazālī [Reason and light in the thought of Imam al-Ġazālī]”. Additionally, Jean Druel, OP participated in this study days with a talk on “ḥaqīqah masīḥiyya, ḥaqīqah islāmiyya [Muslim truth, Christian truth]”. Among other speakers, Adrien Candiard, OP gave a talk entitled “Ibn Taymiyya wa taʿāruḍ al-ʿaql wa-l-naql ”, while Matthieu Palayret, OP gave a talk on “ʿālam al-ṭabīʿa wa ʿālam al-niʿma fī fikr Ṭūmā al-Aquīnī  [The world of nature and the world of grace in the thought of Thomas Aquinas]”. Interreligious study days “CreAction” in Stuttgart From May 3ʳᵈ to 5ᵗʰ, interreligious study days took place for students in Islamic and Christian theology, as well as Jewish studies, on the topic “CreAction: Interreligious approaches for climate Justice” in Stuttgart, Germany. They were organized by Dennis Halft, OP from the Faculty of Theology in Trier, and his colleagues from the Center for Islamic Theology at the University of Münster, the Faculty of Theology at the University of Leipzig, and the Weltethos Foundation. Juries On May 2ⁿᵈ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP participated in the jury evaluating the applications for the summer school program entitled “Deepening Arabic language through Islamic heritage sources”, in partnership with the French Institute of Islamic Studies and the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology. Out of the 28 candidates, the jury selected the following applicants: Ms. Chloé Lecomte-Planche, Ms. Raphaëlle Ebran, Ms. Riham Mokrani, Ms. Tamar Kvartskhava, Ms. Yasmine Mohamed Khalil, and Ms. Yesmine Karray. Also selected were Mr. Achraf Et-Taoussi, Mr. Ahmed Taha Gueye, Mr. Baudouin de Cernon, Mr. Cédric Molino-Machetto, Mr. Ismaël Darwish, and Mr. Tom-Younès Oubelkhir. On May 14ᵗʰ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP participated via video conference in the thesis defense jury of Mr. Hazem al-Rahmany. The thesis was entitled “Between tradition and modernity: Qurʾānic hermeneutics in the works of Fazlur Rahman, Nasr Abu Zayd, and Abdolkarim Soroush”. The jury was made up of Mrs. Olga Lizzini, professor at Aix-Marseille University and thesis director; Mrs. Kalthoum Hamda, associate professor at the University of Paris Nanterre and rapporteur; Mr. Emmanuel Pisani, associate professor at the Catholic Institute of Paris, director of IDEO, and rapporteur; Mr. Youssouf Sangaré, associate professor at INALCO and thesis co-director; Mrs. Meryem Sebti, research director at CNRS Jean Pépin Center UMR 8230 and examiner; and Mr. Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen, professor at the University of Copenhagen and examiner. On May 29ᵗʰ, the jury for the annual Islamic Studies IFI/IDEO/IFAO scholarship met. It was awarded to Ms. Tessa Larivière-Ammari. Scientific Committees On May 14ᵗʰ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP participated in the Scientific Committee of the French magazine Proche Orient Chrétien. From May 14ᵗʰ to May 18ᵗʰ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP participate

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Newsletter May 2024

Here are some updates about Diamond-ILS, the cataloging application designed by Fr. René-Vincent du Grandlaunay back in the 1990s (initially under the name AlKindi). Thirty years later, the adventure continues! Diamond-ILS is now shared by 11 libraries or research centers, 7 of which are particularly active: IDEO, of course, which uses it for all its resources (monographs, articles, journals, on paper or electronically); the Arab Manuscripts Institute in Cairo, which, thanks to funding from the BnF, is currently cataloging a microfilm collection of manuscripts found in Yemen; the Giorgio La Pira Library in Palermo, which specializes in contemporary Muslim cultures; the Commission Léonine in Paris, for its collection devoted to the works of Saint Thomas Aquinas; the Saint Mark Foundation, which reports to the Coptic-Orthodox patriarchate in Cairo and catalogs various collections of Coptic manuscripts; the Vatican Apostolic Library, for its collection of Arabic manuscripts; and the Saulchoir Library in Paris, specializing in Christian humanities and religious studies. Each library has its own online catalog, but they all contribute to the same repository in a collaborative manner, enabling links to be established between their collections. The LRM/RDA model, which Diamond-ILS implements natively, enables the editorial history of works (different editions and translations, publications, reprints, etc.) to be presented in a single record, as well as the cultural history of works (commentaries, refutations, sequels, etc.). Diamond’s current ambitions are manifold: integrating new types of document (archives, papyri, maps, etc.); to build up a precise, sourced repository of Arabic, Latin and Coptic works and authors; to record the relationships within and between these repositories, in order to draw up a genuine map of knowledge and heritage; to improve the display of increasingly complex data, in order to make it accessible to as many people as possible, without sacrificing its academic quality; to find new partners in cultural fields that complement the current ones (Hebrew, Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopian, Sanskrit, Chinese studies, etc.), in order to extend this cartography. ) in order to extend this mapping and highlight the richness, complexity and interconnection of human knowledge. Diamond-ILS is currently run by the non-profit organization LRM-CS in Paris. Anawati Chair Seminar at al-Azhar Center for French Language Teaching (CEF) On April 17ᵗʰ, Mr. Seniguer Haoues, Lecturer and Director of the Diploma in Contemporary Arab World Studies at Sciences Po Lyon, led a seminar on “How to study Islam in a minority context? The French example”. Lectures and talks On April 19ᵗʰ, Jean Jacques Pérennès, OP gave a lecture at the Academy of Human Sciences in Baghdad, introducing a conference on the Iraqi personality. The topic of his talk was “The challenge of becoming a person between the individual and the community”. On April 22ⁿᵈ,  Alberto Ambrosio, OP gave a talk entitled “Clothing in Republican Turkey (1925-1934)”, as part of the seminar on “Aesthetics and Clothing in the Near and Middle East”, organized by Professor Ida Zilio-Grandi, at Ca’ Foscari University (Venice). Seminars On April 24ᵗʰ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP led the seminar on the topic “Dirāsat al-Ġazālī ʿalā yad al-mustašriqīn: al-mufāraqa al-makšūfa” [Orientalists’ studies of al-Ġazālī: the paradox revealed], with around forty Indonesian students of al-Azhar organized by the Lingkar Studi Filsafat Girinata center. Teaching From April 15ᵗʰ to 18ᵗʰ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP taught a 24-hour course on “The Great religious traditions” to around 40 students at the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences. (ISSR) of the Catholic Institute of Toulouse. From April 16th to 26th, Adrien Candiard, OP, gave his annual course in Islamic theology at the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI) in Rome. At the end of April 2024, Jean Druel, OP, taught a total of 40 hours of Biblical Greek, for beginners and intermediate students, as part of the Master of Theology program at the Sakakini Catholic Institute of Religious Sciences in Cairo. Radio On April 21ˢᵗ, Dominique Avon was interviewed for a program on freedom of conscience on Radio France Visits On April 10th, we had the honor of receiving a visit from the Delegation of the Conference of Bishops of France, composed of: Mᵍʳ Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, Archbishop of Reims, President of the Conference of Bishops of France (CEF); Mᵍʳ Laurent Ulrich, Archbishop of Paris; Mᵍʳ Matthieu Rougé, Bishop of Nanterre; Father Hugues de Woillemont, General Secretary of the Conference of Bishops of France (CEF); Mrs. Céline Reynaud-Fourton, Director of International Affairs. We also had the pleasure of welcoming members of the French Catholic association Œuvre d’Orient, including: Mᵍʳ Pascal Gollnisch; Mrs. Armelle Milcent, Director of Communications; Mr. Bertrand de Margerie, Mission Officer for Egypt; Mr. Michel Petit de La Perrelle; and Mrs. Isabelle Karaiskos, Journalist at KTO. Scholars’ House  During the month of April, we had the pleasure of welcoming to the Scholars’ House Mr. Sami Benkherfallah, a professor in medieval history at the University of Poitiers and beneficiary of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs scholarship.

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