Newsletter — September 2018

Dear friends,

The talk on the principles of interreligious dialogue, given by Bishop Jean-Marc Aveline at the second gala of IDEO (see the picture above), was inaugural in several ways. Not only did it inaugurate our academic year and our annual cycle of seminars (click here to register), but it was also a great exercise in communicating perceptive theological thought in simple words accessible to all: Catholics or non-Catholics, believers or non-believers alike (click here to listen to the conference).

May this new academic year offer us many opportunities to exchange ideas with depth and finesse on what are sometimes complicated and sensitive subjects.


On September 12th, Mgr Jean-Marc Aveline, Auxiliary Bishop of Marseille and President of the Council for Interreligious Relations at the Bishop’s Conference of France, gave a lecture entitled “The theological Principles of Interreligious Dialogue”. Organized for the second Gala of the IDEO, this conference inaugurated our annual cycle of seminars. Bishop Aveline showed that interreligious dialogue is only a manifestation of a more fundamental dialogue that God engages with the world: a dialogue of service, to which the Church calls all believers to contribute. Click here to listen to the conference and read the report…

On September 21st, Jean Druel, OP, along with Mr. Ilyass Amharar, gave a lecture entitled “’A Little Monday’: Ancient Rebuttals and Defenses of the Teaching of Sībawayh”, as part of the fifth meeting of the “Foundations of Arabic Linguistics” group at Cambridge University.

From September 28-30th, Guillaume de Vaulx participated in the workshop “Art and Research” at the High School of Art in Aix-en-Provence, by setting up of a board game inspired by the fable of the animals in the Rasāʾil Iḫwān al-Ṣafā.

Round table

On September 26th, Jean Druel, OP participated in the “Shared Heritage” conference in New York, which inaugurated the cooperation between the National Library of France and the New York Public Library. He participated in a round table discussion on the topic of “Research and Dissemination” as part of our collaboration with the Web Portal “Libraries of the Orient”.


On September 11th, the Norwegian organization Stefanus Alliance International awarded Amir Jajé, OP and Mr. Saad Saloum, founders of the Iraqi Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Stefanus Prize 2018. This prize is awarded every two years to people who work in the field of human rights, with a particular focus on freedom of conscience and religion.

Dominican Roman Days

From September 26‒30th, the Dominican Roman Days were held in Rome, at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum). This is a gathering of about forty Dominican brothers and sisters who work in Muslim contexts. This meeting, which takes place every four years, is an opportunity to reflect together on the challenges of our activities and on the state of interreligious dialogue. Several members of IDEO participated: Rémi Chéno, OP, Jean Druel, OP, Robini Marianto, OP, Claudio Monge, OP and Jean Jacques Pérennès, OP. Jean Druel, OP gave a lecture on the linguistic problems of the intelligibility of the faith, and Jean Jacques Pérennès, OP gave a lecture entitled “Dialogue and Otherness: Pierre Claverie’s Contribution to the Reflection on Interreligious Dialogue”.


On September 6th, we welcomed for lunch Mrs. Marie-Hélène Avril, Lecturer at the University of Bordeaux.

On September 13th, we welcomed for lunch Mr. David Ruffel, in charge of the Book Service at the French Institute of Egypt.

On September 17th, we welcomed for lunch Mrs. Marie-Delphine Martellière and Mr. Paul-André Claudel from the Center for Alexandrian Studies (CEAlex).

On September 17th, we received Mr. Djim Dramé, Director of the Laboratory of Islamology of the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa (IFAN) in Dakar, and Mr. Ousmane Diaw, Editor in Cairo, to explore the possibility of collaboration on cataloguing the manuscripts of IFAN.

On September 29th, we welcomed for lunch Mr. Julien Loiseau, Professor of Islamic history at the University of Aix-en-Provence.

Scholars’ House

In September, we had the pleasure of receiving at the Scholars’ House P. John Mallare, Scheutist priest from the Phillipines and PhD student in Islamic studies at PISAI (Rome); Mr. Martino Diez, Scientific Director of the International Oasis Foundation, as part of his research on the manuscripts of Ibn al-Makīn (672/1273); Mr. Benedict Coleridge, PhD student in political philosophy at Oxford University; Mr. András Szenczi, PhD student at the Avicenna Institute of Hungary; Mr. Farid Bouchiba, PhD student at the University of Nantes; Mrs. Claire Gallien, Lecturer at the Paul Valéry University in Montpellier

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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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