Cercare di capirsi

Jean DruelCercare di capirsi: Avvio al dialogo interreligioso, Brescia: Queriniana, 2018, 88 pages.

«Lo scopo di questo libriccino è aiutare persone che vorrebbero imbastire un dialogo con altri credenti (o con non credenti), ma non sanno bene come e da dove cominciare. Vorrei cercare di aiutare tutte queste persone a entrare progressivamente in una maggiore complessità, verità e bellezza».

La nostra epoca ha creduto di ottenere la pace mettendo a tacere le religioni e i credenti. Ha pensato che lo studio storico-critico dei dogmi e delle pratiche religiose avrebbe neutralizzato il potenziale di violenza delle fedi. Invece è accaduto il contrario. Sicché abbiamo bisogno più che mai di dialogare, di confrontarci con le nostre credenze e con i nostri racconti. Di divenire adulti nella fede, liberi e felici di essere diversi.

Se rispettiamo alcune regole semplici, come quella di prendere sul serio l’interlocutore, di ascoltarlo fino in fondo senza innervosirci, di dire davvero ciò che pensiamo, di distinguere i diversi livelli di discorso, possiamo superare le nostre paure reciproche e vivere meglio insieme.

La scommessa dell’autore è che il libro riesca a far imboccare davvero questa via a chiunque lo legga.

Un libro agile e pratico, non privo di humour, nato dall’esperienza vissuta, sul confronto con i non credenti (e i credenti di fedi diverse dalla nostra).

Click here to buy the book online…

The word āmīn in Arabic

Jean Druel

Director of IDEO

icon-calendar November 7, 2017

In his short treatise entitled A glitter in the debate about the word āmīn used in supplication and its rules in Arabic, Ibn al-Ḫaššāb al-Baġdādī (d. 567/1172) presents the state of the art of the grammatical knowledge on the word āmīn in his time. All grammarians agree that āmīn is not an Arabic word, but a Hebrew one (or Persian, or Syriac), which is however well attested in the Ḥadīṯ: the Prophet and his companions would conclude the recitation of the first sūra, al-Fātiḥa, by saying āmīn. This situation has triggered the curiosity of both Qurʾānic commentators and grammarians, who have studied the following issues: the validity of both forms, long āmīn and short amīn; the part-of-speech āmīn belongs to; its meaning; and the possibility that āmīn be a name of God.

Grammarians agreed on the analysis of āmīn as an ism fiʿl ‘verb name’ (a category refering to the verbs’ proper names, see Levin 1991), based on a commentary by Muǧāhid (d. 104/722) and ʿIkrima (d. 105/723) that the dual in Qad uǧībat daʿwatukumā (Q10, Yūnus, 89) refers to the invocation of Moses and Aaron, and that Aaron’s invocation consisted in saying āmīn. In order for āmīn to be an invocation, it has to be a full sentence. This means that āmīn is comparable to ṣah ‘sh!’, which is a ‘verb name’ whose meaning is the imperative ‘hush!’. Grammarians have thus interpreted āmīn as being a ‘verb name’, and its meaning is Allāhumma staǧib ‘Lord, answer!’

Lastly, although four ḥadīṯs transmitted by Hilāl b. Yasāf (or Yisāf), Muǧāhid and Ḥakīm b. Ǧābir mention that āmīn is a name of God, both Abū ʿAlī al-Fārisī (d. 377/987) and Ibn al-Ḫaššāb (d. 567/1172) agree that it cannot be so, although for different reasons. The former argues that an invariable noun cannot be a name of God, whereas the latter argues that it is because āmīn is a complete sentence that it cannot be one of God’s names.

The reception of Sībawayh’s Kitāb in the West

Jean Druel

icon-calendar September 2015‒September 2020

Couv SibawayhIn her PhD research (1992, published in 1995 under the title Les voies de la transmission du Kitāb de Sībawayhi, Brill) Geneviève Humbert has reveaIed the existence of a North African (Kairouan?) parchment of Sībawayh’s Kitāb, probably dated 5th/11th century. It’s a very rare parchment (not paper) that roughly contains one sixth of the Kitāb (chapters 327 to 435 of Derenbourg’s edition).

Geneviève Humbert studied in great detail the history of the transmission of the Kitāb, both in the East and in the West, and according to her, this parchment contains a quite different version of the Kitāb than the “official” version circulated by al-Mubarrad (d. 285/898). In particular, it seems that the “canonical corpus of internal glosses” found in all other manuscript is not found in its matn.

Here are, always according to Geneviève Humbert, names of Andalusian grammarians who played an important role in the transmission of the Kitāb in the West.

In this research, Jean Druel wishes to focus not on the transmission of the text, as did Geneviève Humbert, but on the grammatical lessons that can be drawn from this different text. Does this peculiar parchment contain significantly different lessons? Does it bring a new light, not only on the reception of the Kitāb but on Sībawayh’s teachings?

Jean Druel, O.P.

ID201410Jean Druel is French and lives in Cairo. Since October 2014, he is director of IDEO.

After a Master’s Degree in theology and Coptic patrology (L’expérience spirituelle de saint Pachôme…Catholic Institute in Paris, 2002), he graduated in Teaching Arabic as Foreign Language at the American University (Emphatic sounds in educated Cairene Arabic2006).

In 2012, he completed a PhD thesis in the history of Arabic grammar at the University of Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, under the supervision of Pr. Kees Versteegh (Numerals in Arabic grammatical theory).

He managed the 200 Project (2013‒2016), the aim of which is the historical contextualization of the works of 200 authors of the Arab Islamic heritage. He currently studies a manuscript of Sībawayh’s (180/796?) Kitāb that has never been edited.

Publications in the field of Arabic grammar: