Activities of Research

Studying the heritage of islam

The Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies (Idéo) in Cairo is a renowned research centre dedicated to the in-depth study of the Islamic heritage. Idéo’s work is multidisciplinary and includes theological, philosophical, linguistic and historical research.

Idéo researchers explore classical Islamic texts, such as the Qur’an and the ḥadīths, Qur’anic commentaries and theological or mystical treatises, Arabic grammar, treatises on heresiology and interreligious polemics, with the aim of better understanding their historical context and contemporary interpretation. They also engage in comparative studies between Islam and Christianity, with a view to laying and fostering the foundations of interreligious dialogue.

Research is conducted through weekly seminars between researchers and open seminars aimed at sharing knowledge and renewing perspectives for fellow Islamologists or a wider public (dissemination of knowledge). The Institute’s researchers organise conferences and colloquia, teach courses and regularly publish their work in specialised journals, thereby contributing to the enrichment of the field of Oriental studies.

Thanks to their ongoing efforts and their dual expertise (Christian theology and Islamology), Idéo researchers contribute both to a better understanding of Islam and to offering a new theological perspective on Islam, thereby promoting interreligious dialogue.

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Research seminar

The Authority of the Salafs in the Islamic Heritage


Salafism is a theological ideology characterized by an exclusivist discourse that often rejects other perspectives. In the name of the salafs (early Muslim generations), certain strands of Islam create insular spaces resistant to contemporary inquiries. While this theological rhetoric draws upon Islamic tradition and the exemplary lives of the salafs, it is essential to delve into history to understand who these salafs were, assess their influence, and examine how they have been mobilized throughout history. Was this a novel ideological discourse conflicting with the teachings of Muslim scholars within their respective contexts?


The Literal Meaning of Scripture 15th to 17th of february 2024

Problematic and societal issues

Literalism involves interpreting texts with a commitment to preserving the original intended meaning, yet defining this original meaning can be a complex task. The question arises: can’t the text itself admit multiple interpretations? Numerous fundamentalist movements embrace a literalist approach, employing it to rationalize acts of violence, promote separatism, and justify opposition. They ground their actions in a literalist framework, which can lead to contentious interpretations and conflicts.

Scientific contribution

The upcoming study days will delve into epistemological inquiries and explore ways in which the interpretation of sacred texts can move beyond literalist approaches. Additionally, the objective is to develop a classification system for interpretations based on the various Abrahamic religions.


Researchers from the three monotheistic religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam).


The conference will be published and broadcast on the Openedition website.


The conference is being organised by the Anawati Chair with the support of the European Union Delegation in Cairo.

International symposium (2024) : Impact and prospects of the Document on human fraternity

The fourth international PLURIEL congress, scheduled for 4 to 7 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi, is an important opportunity to examine in depth the impact and prospects of the Document on Human Fraternity, signed five years ago by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad al-Tayib. This conference builds upon previous conferences, such as “Islam in the Plural” in 2016, “Islam and Belongings” in 2018, and “Islam and Otherness” in 2022, which have brought together researchers specialising in various areas of Islamology.

The central theme of this congress is the impact of the Document on Human Fraternity on the coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the world, as well as future prospects. The primary goal is to assess the reception of this document on its fifth anniversary and to explore the transformations needed to promote universal human brotherhood in the social, political and theological fields.

The congress will feature three main areas of analysis, fostering synergies and exchanges between them. These axes will make it possible to explore the various dimensions and challenges inherent in the promotion of human fraternity, and to engage in in-depth reflection within a multidisciplinary framework.

1. The socio-legal theme will examine the issue of full citizenship in multicultural and multi-religious societies, with particular emphasis on the legal protection of religious minorities. The aim will be to assess good practice as well as concerns relating to freedom of religion and the recognition of minority rights.

2. Geopolitics will examine the role of religion and ideology in current conflicts. It will seek to identify positive examples of processes aimed at countering religious extremism and intolerance. It will also explore how governments and international organisations can engage religious actors in promoting common goals such as sustainable development, human rights and peace.

3. The theological-dialogical axis explores the theological reflection prompted by the Document on Human Fraternity. It questions how Christians and Muslims are rethinking their understanding of brotherhood and mission in response to this ideal of inclusive brotherhood. This raises questions about traditional interpretations, the term ‘fraternity’ and its religious significance. How can Christianity and Islam develop a notion of brotherhood that encompasses all humanity?

The Anawati Chair

The Congress is taking place within the framework of the Anawati Chair, which contributes to the participation of researchers and students from the Middle East. If you would like to take part in the Congress as part of the Chair, and if you meet the requirements (for those who will not be giving a paper, you must be under 30 years of age and willing to get involved in creating fraternity circles when you return from the Congress), you can send your request to the Chair’s secretariat: