Dear friends,

As the pandemic continues to take its toll everywhere in the world, Egypt is currently being hit by a second wave of contamination. It is impossible to know the exact number of patients suffering of Covid-19 because, the cost of a PCR test being almost 150 euros, only a tiny percentage of Egyptians are able to be tested. In this context, and just like the trees in our garden (photo) which have undergone a severe pruning, you will understand that our activities are running a little slow. But while we decided not to organize any more seminars, the library remains open to the readers, with the necessary health measures. We wish you all a happy new year 2021. May the regained serenity allow you to make exciting discoveries and fruitful encounters.


On December 1ˢᵗ, Dominique Avon gave a lecture entitled “Modesty in the discourse of men of religion (19ᵗʰ‒21ˢᵗ centuries)”, during a conference entitled “Islam and Modesty” organized by the FNRS (National Fund for Scientific Research).

On December 15ᵗʰ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP participated in a discussion with Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi on the Coran des historiens (Paris: Cerf, 2019), as part of the CéSor debates organized by the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS).

Evening study session

On December 16ᵗʰ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP led with Paul Airiau, François Bousquet and Cédric Baylocq an evening study session on the topic of “Religions and secularism: the challenge of intransigence” in partnership with the association the Friends of the IDEO and the newspaper La Croix, and with the participation of Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner and Bertrand Wallon.


On December 1ˢᵗ, we welcomed for lunch bishop Claudio Lurati, newly appointed for the Latin-rite Catholics in Egypt.

On December 2ⁿᵈ, we welcomed Ms. Pilar Villanueva, First Counsellor of the Spanish Embassy in Cairo, and Mr. Cándido Creis Estrada, Cultural Counsellor.


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Newsletter — November 2020

Dear friends,

As the sanitary situation is still lasting, this is a good time for strategic thinking. On November 26ᵗʰ, the IDEO was invited to participate in a meeting of the Egyptian members of the GIS MOMM. Behind this code name hides a Scientific Interest Groupment of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), dedicated to the Middle East and Islamic worlds. We met in Alexandria (photo) in the premises of the CEAlex, with representatives of the IFAO and the CEDEJ. The purpose of this meeting was to propose an update of the 2014 MOMM GIS Livre Blanc and to propose ways to strengthen our current collaborations: joint fellowships, sharing of documentary collections, research projects. Our fields of study are complementary and would greatly benefit from closer collaboration.


On November 19ᵗʰ, Dennis Halft, OP gave a lecture entitled “Muslim Interpretations of the Bible as Heteronomous Texts? Possible advantages of a concept of classical philology in Islamic sciences” at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany.

Mellon project

On November 1ˢᵗ, we started a project of development of our cataloguing software Diamond, funded by the Mellon Foundation in the frame of a larger project supported by the French National Library (BnF). This project consists of developing Diamond to enable future partners of the BnF to transfer their metadata to the Portal of Libraries of the Orient in Gallica. We have recruited two researchers, Zainab Assawi (Dār al-ʿUlūm) and Ahmed Sayed (al-Azhar), to enrich the referential metadata of works of the Arab and Islamic heritage. This project will run until 2023.


On November 19ᵗʰ, we welcomed Mr. Giampaolo Cantini, Italian Ambassador to Egypt, and Mr. Andrea Benzo, First Counsellor.

On November 20ᵗʰ, we welcomed for lunch Mr. Jamel Oubéchou, Cultural Counsellor of the French Embassy and Director of the French Institute.


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Newsletter — October 2020

Dear friends,

Current events and international tensions remind us that there is a difference between rights and friendship. Yes, we all have the right to be mocking, sarcastic, or even hateful, but no, this is not the desirable mode of our relationships with each other. There is no inalienable right to ridicule the sensibility of people and there is no intangible taboo that would make religions untouchable sacred objects. We must be able to continue to talk about all this in class, at university, with friends and family. Wish you all a great celebration of the Prophet’s Birth and a happy feast of All Saints’ Day!

International Conference

From October 16ᵗʰ‒18ᵗʰ we held in Cairo (and on Zoom) the third IDEO Conference “From the back of the heart: Reciting in the Early Islamic Empire”, of which Devin Stewart was the keynote speaker. An interesting side of the topic of recitation is, among other things, that it forces us to reconsider the definition of what a text is. Click here to read the report of the conference…

IDEO Seminar

On October 20ᵗʰ, Mr. Simon Conrad, PhD student in Islamic Studies at Princeton University, presented his current research on Abū al-ʿIlā ʿAfīfī (1897‒1966) who was the first to introduce Sufi studies at the Egyptian University. Click here to read the report…

Thesis defense

On October 30ᵗʰ, Mateus Domingues Da Silva, OP successfully defended his doctoral thesis, under the supervision of Miguel Attie Filho (São Paulo) and Robert Wisnovsky (McGill), entitled “Suhrawardī and the metaphysics of lights”. The assessors were Catarina Belo, Josep Puig Montada, Carlos Fraenkel and Olga Lizzini.


Form October 1ˢᵗ‒3ʳᵈ, Michel Cuypers, PFJ participated in the Seventh International Conference of the International Society for the Study of Biblical and Semitic Rhetoric (Gregorian University, Rome). In his contribution he presented a rhetorical and inter-textual analysis of the eighth Sūra of the Qurʾān “The Spoils”.

On October 5ᵗʰ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP gave a lecture entitled “Christianity and Islam. From polemics to dialogue”, to the radicalized prisoners in the Santé Prison in Paris, at the invitation of the School for Higher Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS).

On October 22ⁿᵈ, Adrien Candiard, OP participated in the opening conference of the Louis Massignon Chair of Religious Studies at the Center for International Studies (Sciences Po-CERI), during which he made a contribution with Mr. Olivier Roy on the topic of “Faith versus identity? The religious dimension in cultural wars”.


On October 31ˢᵗ, we welcomed at the IDEO the group “Seket Maaref” (featured on the picture) for a lecture by Omaima Abubakr on women scholars in Islamic sciences in the first centuries of Islam. While tradition has transmitted to us the names of hundreds of women who have studied, taught and written in most Islamic sciences, no manuscript has come down to us. This is probably due to the fact that women did not teach in the official madrasah networks when this system became widespread.


On October 4ᵗʰ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP participated in the France 2 television program Les chemins de la foi on the topic of “Creation and ecology in Islam”.

On October 9ᵗʰ, Mr. Bechir Choucha, made a video clip on the IDEO and its library. Click here to watch the video on Facebook (in Arabic)…


On October 4ᵗʰ, we welcomed for lunch Mrs. Camille Thiébaut, from the political section of the French Embassy.

On October 28ᵗʰ, we welcomed for lunch Mr. François Cornet d’Elzius, Belgian Ambassador to Egypt, and his wife.

Scholars’ House

In October we had the pleasure of receiving in the Scholars’ House Mr. Simon Conrad, PhD student in Islamic Studies at the Princeton University.


  • Adrien CandiardDu fanatisme: quand la religion est malade, Paris : Cerf, 2020.
  • Emilio Platti, De Koran herontdekt, Averbode: Uitgeverij Averbode|‌Erasme N.V., 2020, 96 pages.
  • Dominique Avon, « Du droit religieux dans le droit étatique : approche historique de la législation anti-blasphème dans les États à référence musulmane depuis les années 1960 », dans Cédric Burgun & Ludovic Danto (dir.), Le Blasphème. Le retour d’une question juridique oubliée entre droits sacrés et droits civils, Paris, Artège/Lethielleux, 2020, pages 115‒144.

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Newsletter — September 2020

Dear friends,

We hope that the developments of the health crisis do not disrupt your activities too much.

Circumstances force us to organize our next conference online. Dedicated to recitation (among Copts, Syriacs and Muslims), it will take place on October 16ᵗʰ, 17ᵗʰ and 18ᵗʰ. Please contact us to register and receive the links for the Zoom sessions. Registration is free and the program is available here…

We hope that many of you will register!


On September 3ʳᵈ, Ahmad Wagih gave an online lecture at the invitation of Tasees Center (Khartoum). The lecture was entitled “Commentary of Risāla fī ḥaqīqat al-taʾwīl by ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Yaḥyā al-Muʿallimī al-Yamānī (d. 1967)”. Click here to listen to the lecture in Arabic on Youtube…

On September 9ᵗʰ, Dennis Halft, OP gave an online lecture entitled “A Shīʿī Muslim Translation and Interpretation of the Gospels from Early Nineteenth Century Iran” at the international conference “Reading the Gospels in Islamic Context”, organized by the Centre for Islamic-Christian Studies in Oxford. Click here to watch the lecture in English (from the 52ⁿᵈ minute)…

Habilitation Jury

On September 16ᵗʰ, Mr. Michel Younès obtained his habilitation from the École pratique des hautes études. The title of his thesis was: “Christian Approaches to Islam”. Dominique Avon was the supervisor and the jury was composed of Mohamed-Ali Amir-Moezzi, Chantal Verdeil, Michel Fourcade, Pierre Lory and Gabriel Reynolds.


From September 14ᵗʰ‒22ⁿᵈ, René-Vincent du Grandlaunay, OP was at the Vatican Library to finalize our cooperation agreement with them. As part of this agreement, the Vatican Library will catalog its Christian and Islamic Arabic manuscripts in the AlKindi database managed by the IDEO (Diamond software).


On September 18ᵗʰ, we welcomed a group of researchers from the Center for Papyrus and Inscriptions Studies at the Ayn Shams University.

On September 24ᵗʰ, we welcomed for lunch Mr. François Legué, First Counsellor of the French Embassy, and Mrs. Camille Thiébaut, from the political section.

On September 29ᵗʰ, we welcomed for lunch Mr. Frédéric Petit, deputy for the French citizens abroad, and Mrs. Maxine Guérault, administrator of the French National Assembly.


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Newsletter — August 2020

Dear friends,

For many of us, the new academic year may be further disrupted by the Covid-19 epidemic. However, I hope you had a good summer, in Dahab (photo) or elsewhere. Here is a quick overview of the latest news of the IDEO, for those who may have missed some episodes: Emmanuel Pisani, OP was appointed director last June, but Jean Druel, OP will serve as interim director for one year, until Emmanuel arrives in Cairo; Ms. Sana Bou Antoun, PhD student at Sorbonne-Université joined us in Cairo for one year as part of our joint fellowship with the IFAO; the publication of volume 35 of MIDEO, dedicated to the interactions between Shiites and Christians, is expected to be out in the next few weeks; a new call for papers was launched on the topic of “Islamic Theologies of Disasters”; the conference on reciting initially supposed to be held in Cairo in July will finally take place online in October; the other activities of the project “Adawāt: Tools for Critical Thinking in Islamic Studies” are proceeding well, French classes at al-Azhar University due to the work of the French Institute, which provides all classes online, and the cataloguing of manuscripts in AlKindi due to the work of the Institute of Arabic Manuscripts; the library finally reopened its doors to researchers after a five-month closure and research seminars should resume in the coming weeks.

Thank you all for your patience, your encouragement, and your generous support!


On July 23rd, Jean Druel, OP gave a lecture on YouTube at the invitation of the Arabic Manuscripts Institute about “Sībawayh’s Kitāb: the oriental and Andalusian versions contained in the manuscript Ambrosiana X 56 Sup”. Click here to watch the lecture online (in arabic) ….

Research project

On July 14th, The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) at the University of Toronto announced the launch of a new five-year project (2020‒2025) entitled “Practices of Commentary”. Fourteen academics collaborate in this project, coordinated by Walid Saleh, a member of the IDEO. The project seeks to develop a global perspective on practices of commentary, de-siloing regionally focused work while simultaneously offering fine-grained and nuanced accounts of the function of commentary in cultures and communities of the premodern world.


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Newsletter — June 2020

Dear friends,

We are happy to announce the appointment of Emmanuel Pisani, OP as the new director of the IDEO. Emmanuel is a specialist in the theological thought of Abū Ḥāmid al-Ġazālī (d. 505/1111), and he is interested in the interactions between Muslims of different currents of Islam as well as between believers of different confessions. He will head the Graduate Institute of Theology and Science of Religions (ISTR) at the Catholic University in Paris until June 2021, when he will move to Cairo. Dennis Halft, OP will then succeed him as Director of MIDEO. During this year, Jean Druel, OP will remain as assistant director.

The activities of the Institute and its members are still at a standstill, which fortunately benefits research. We wish you a great summer!


On 21 June, Youssouf Sangaré gave an online lecture as part of the “Midan Mounira” cycle entitled “Islam of the Qurʾān vs Islam of the Hadith: Overcoming the divide between the ‘new thinkers of Islam’ and the ‘Ulamas’”. Click here to read the report and here to watch the conference online (in French, with Arabic subtitles).

On July 8, Jean Jacques Pérennès, OP gave a lecture in Tréguier, France entitled “Louis Massignon, a different approach to Islam”.

Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau (University of Strasbourg) is organising with Mehdi Azaiez (MCF University of Lorraine / KU Leuven) and Iyas Hassan (MCF Lyon-2), a series of lectures entitled “Composing, writing and transmitting the Qurʾān in the first century of Islam“ in the universities of Lorraine, Lyon-2 and Strasbourg. Click here to watch these lectures online… (in French).

Research Seminars

Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau organizes with Salomé Deboos (anthropologist, University of Strasbourg) a monthly research seminar at the University of Strasbourg entitled “Representations of Islams: panchronic views and experiences”. Click here to download the program… (in French).

Ifao-Ideo Scholarship

We are pleased to welcome in Cairo Sana Bou Antoun, doctoral student at Sorbonne-University under the supervision of professors Abdallah Cheikh-Moussa and Asma Hilali, during the academic year 2020-2021. She is studying on the epistemological implications of the use by the first orientalists in the 19ᵗʰ century in Qurʾānic studies of intellectual tools developed for Biblical studies.

Libraries of the Orient

The French National Library and the IDEO have signed a two-year collaboration agreement to finance the development of Diamond, the cataloguing software developed by the IDEO according to IFLA-LRM standards. The aim of this agreement is to enable partner libraries of the online portal “Libraries of the Orient” to use Diamond to catalogue manuscripts and printed materials that will then be added to the portal.

International Conference

The conference “From the Back of the Heart: Reciting in the Early Islamic Empire” which was planned in Cairo at the end of June has been postponed to October 16ᵗʰ-18ᵗʰ. This conference is coordinated by Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau and Asma Hilali.


MIDEO 35 on Shia-Christian interactions is expected to be published during the summer. It will be available online for free on the Open Edition website.


  • Dominique Avon, « Le nom chrétien sous la plume d’hommes de religion musulmans égyptiens », Les cahiers de l’EMAM 32 (2020).
  • Jean Druel, “The Kitāb Sībawayh of ʾAbū al-Ḥasan ʾAḥmad b. Naṣr: A non-Sīrāfian recension of the Kitāb”, in Zeitschrift für arabische Linguistik 71 (2020), pages 29‒56.
  • Emmanuel Pisani, « Dans le Coran, l’eau est douce et amère », Les cahiers « Croire » 329 (mai-juin 2020), pages 30‒32.
  • Emmanuel Pisani (dir.), avec la collaboration de Pierre Diara, Marie-Hélène Robert & Xavier Manzano, Maximum illud : vers une nouvelle ère missionnaire, Paris : Cerf, 2020 (Collection « Theologicum »).
  • Guillaume de Vaulx, La civilisation et ses bêtes : réécritures contemporaines de la fable médiévale des Épîtres des Frères en Pureté (Rasāʾil Ikhwān al-ṣafā), le procès animal de la domination humaine (blog hébergé sur le site

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Newsletter — March 2020

Dear friends,

this epidemic that has so much overturned our lives in recent weeks is unfortunately an indicator that much more work remains to be done to better integrate religion and human sciences. Many believers, Christians and Muslims alike, continue to oppose science and faith, as if they were talking of the same thing. Or rather, as if they had competing points of view on the world, whereas they complement each other. In the name of this supposed conflict between science and faith, some believers refuse, for example, to take the necessary health measures, arguing that faith will protect them and not science. No, it is not a lack of faith to listen to the discourse of scientists! And if God is free to perform miracles, it is not up to us to force his hand by refusing to take health measures… Let us stay at home, read, be creative and show solidarity, work remotely, and pray that humanity may come out of this crisis stronger.

Featured in this month’s photo, in the absence of any academic activities, the flowering of two kinds of aloe (vera and maculata) in the garden of the Dominican priory in Cairo.

Scholars’ House

In March we had the pleasure of receiving in the Scholars’ House Ms. Gyöngyi Oroszi and Mr. Levente Teklovics, PhD students from the Avicenna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies in Piliscsaba, Hungary.


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Newsletter — February 2020

Dear friends,

one of the books we acquired at the Book Fair this year deserves a special mention. It is an edition of Ansāb al-ašrāf of al-Balāḏurī (d. 279/892?), a biographical dictionary of the Prophet and the first Muslim generations. There are other editions of this book but this one symbolizes both the tragedy of the Middle East and the courage and determination of some researchers. Until the present day, only the second volume had been published, in 1996. But the publisher, Maḥmūd al-Firdaws al-ʿAẓm, continued his work in Syria and completed the publication of the twelve volumes in 2000. However, it is only today that these twelve volumes appeared, after spending twenty years in caves in Syria.

Call for applications

The IFAO and the IDEO are pleased to announce their joint offer of a one-year (pre-)doctoral fellowship in Cairo (September 2020‒August 2021) in the following fields: falsafa, kalām and naḥw. Click here for more information… (The deadline for applications: April 30th, 2020).


On February 11th, Mr. Adrien de Jarmy, PhD student at Sorbonne-Université and beneficiary of the IFAO-IDEO doctoral fellowship gave a seminar on Le Coran des historiens (Paris: Cerf, 2019). The point of view of Guillaume Dye, one of the two editors of the project with Mohammad-Ali Amir-Moezzi, is that the Qurʾān is a complicated, composite text, neither the work of a single man, nor a closed book, but an open collection that builds up gradually in discussion with the Late Antiquity context. Click here to read the report…

On February 23rd, the fourth session of the methodology seminar for the French-speaking PhD students at al-Azhar University was held as part of the Adawāt project. It was Emmanuel Pisani, OP who led the session. He focused on how to approach the works of an ancient author: how to verify their attribution, how to establish the chronology of the works of a given author, how to build the lexicon of an author.


On February 6th and 7th, Rémi Chéno, OP participated in the conference entitled “Are religious doctrines condemned to be opposed”, organized by the Institute of Science and Theology of Religions (ISTR) in Paris, under the supervision of Emmanuel Pisani, OP. Rémi Chéno gave a lecture intitled “ Conversation: overcoming the incommensurability of languages”, and Emmanuel Pisani gave a lecture entitled “Thinking of religious pluralism with Christian Duquoc”.

From February 11‒16th, Dennis Hlaft, OP participated in the 2020 Leadership Academy in Boston, United States. This fellowship program for German-speaking scholars and researchers is granted annually by the German Scholars Organization. This program promotes leadership and communication skills and supports fellows in developing their careers.

On February 13th, Dominique Avon gave a lecture intitled “ Lebanon: State and Communities, 1920‒2020” at the Sciences-Po Rennes Institute as part of the Travelling Festival.

On February 15th, Jean Druel, OP led a working day of the Seket Maaref group, whose program this year focuses on the methodology research in the social sciences and humanities. He presented the methodology of research on manuscripts of Arabic grammar.

On February 16th, Mrs. Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner, journalist at La Croix and member of the Bureau of the Friends of IDEO, gave a lecture on the topic of: “How to talk about Islam in a Catholic newspaper?”. Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner was for a long time in charge of the section on Islam and she had to develop her own course of action. Click here to read the report in English and to listen to the lecture in French…

On February 27th, Emmanuel Pisani, OP gave a lecture intitled “Suicide in Islam: al-Tawḥīdī and Miskawayh in view of the Islamic tradition”, as part of the University Diploma of Suicidology at the University of Paris-Descartes.

On February 27th, Dominique Avon participated in the seminar entitled “Egyptian and Copt ʿUlamāʾ (end of the 18th century‒beginning of 21st century”, organized in Paris by the Institute of Science and Theology of Religions (ISTR).

Book Fair

As every year, the Book Fair was a major event in the life of the IDEO. The excellent organization in the last year was confirmed this year and the publishers from the Arab world were present. We purchased more than 1,000 titles, 30% more than last year, for a total budget of 14,000 euros. Click here to view a list of the latest acquisitions as they are catalogued… (photo).


On February 18th, Adrien Candiard, OP led one of the two round tables of the conference “From freedom of worship to freedom of religion and belief”, organised by the Italian Embassy in Cairo.

From February 20‒22nd, Amir Jajé, OP participated in a workshop in Beirut on the topic of “The future of Christians in the Middle East: Towards a global ecclesial pact”.

Round table

On February 25th, Dominique Avon participated with Mathilde Philip-Gay, Daniel Moulinet and Jean-Marie Gueullette in a round table on the topic of “Freedom of conscience: history of a concept and a right”, at the Catholic University of Lyon.


On February 11th, two students from the American University, one from the Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations (ARIC) and the other from the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA), began their internship. This internship, which consists of a training course in referential cataloguing, validates a course in their program. The two interns will focus on the authors of Nahḍa.


On February 3rd, we had the pleasure to welcome Bishop Pascal Gollnisch, General Director of the French Catholic association Œuvre d’Orient.

On February 5th, we welcomed Mr. Muhammad al-Furayh, Director of the Obeikan Publishing Department (Riyadh), who came to study possible collaborations.

On February 10th, we welcomed for lunch Mr. Emmanuel Parisse, Director of AFP’s Cairo office.

On February 12th, we welcomed for dinner Mrs. Éléonore Cellard, researcher and specialist in the manuscripts of the Qurʾān and of the muṣḥaf of Sanaa in particular.

On February 13th, we welcomed Mrs. Catherine Morin Desailly, President of the French Egyptian Friendship Group in the Senate. She was accompanied by a delegation of senators.

On February 13th, we welcomed Mr. Djim Dramé, Director of the Islamic Studies Laboratory of the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa (IFAN) in Dakar, who came to study possible collaborations.

On February 14th, we welcomed a group of teachers from the French Highschool in Cairo who came to discover the IDEO.

On February 19th, we welcomed Mr. Ramón Gil-Casares, Ambassador of Spain to Egypt.

On February 25th, we welcomed for lunch Mr. Jannis Niehoff-Panagiotidis, Professor of Byzantine Studies at the Freie Universität in Berlin.

On February 28th, we welcomed Mr. Daniel Kinitz and Mr. Boris Liebrenz, researchers at the University of Leipzig, who are working on the Bibliotheca Arabica project and who came to study possible collaboration.

Scholars’ House

In February we had the pleasure of receiving in the Scholars’ House Mrs. Mónika Schönléber and Ms. Zsuzsanna Csorba, PhD students from the Avicenna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies in Piliscsaba, Hungary; and Mr. Jáchym Šenkyřík, PhD student at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.


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Newsletter — January 2020

Dear friends,

we had the opportunity with the participants of the intensive Arabic course (see below), to visit Al-Sheikh Zayed Center for Teaching Arabic for non-natives (photo). Located on the campus of al-Azhar University, this center that was founded in 2011 welcomes 3,000 foreign students to prepare them to study in one of al-Azhar’s faculties. During the visit, we discussed the possibility of working together to help students in Islamic studies to improve their level of Arabic language. Please spread the word!

Dost-İ Winter School

From December 29ᵗʰ to January 5ᵗʰ, Claudio Monge, OP and Luca Refatti, OP of the Dominican Institute Dost-İ organized in İstanbul a Winter School entitled “A God on Man’s Trail” dedicated to the Christological quarrels of the 4ᵗʰ and 5ᵗʰ centuries. This seminar is part of a series to prepare for the 1,700ᵗʰ anniversary of the Council of Nicaea in the year 325. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the different understanding of who Christ is before the advent of Islam. Jean Druel, OP and Emmanuel Pisani, OP took part in this seminar.

Arabic for Islamic Studies Winter School

From January 19ᵗʰ‒31ˢᵗ, the IDEO organized, in collaboration with Sibawayh Center, a two-week intensive Arabic course. In the morning, the six participants read excerpts from Qurʾānic commentaries, the life of the Prophet, ḥadīths, fiqh and Sufism. And in the afternoon, university professors gave them lectures on the same topics.

Presidential visit

On January 23rdJean Jacques Pérennès, OP director of the French Biblical and Archaeological School in Jerusalem, and the entire community of the priory of Saint-Étienne had the privilege of welcoming the French president Emmanuel Macron. The conversation focused largely on the contribution of congregations and their research centers to the building of a better coexistence in the Middle East. The president concluded his visit by saying that “One is never truly free without the experience and imbalance of alterity. And it is in this strain that it is built”. Click here to read the report of the visit…

IDEO’s seminars

On January 22nd, Mr. Hadrien Collet gave a seminar on “Searching for the Takārīr in medieval Egypt: A quest to bridge over fragmentary evidence”. Historically, the kingdom of Takrūr is one of the first regions in West Africa have adopted Islam, in the middle of the 5ᵗʰ/11ᵗʰ century. They are mentioned in Arabic sources from the 7ᵗʰ/13ᵗʰ century: passing pilgrims, students and scholars, saints buried and venerated in Cairo. Click here to read the report…


On January 20ᵗʰ, Dennis Halft, OP gave a lecture entitled “The transformative effects of the Bible across religions: Shiite Muslim readings of Jewish and Christian scriptures, 1600‒1900”, at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

On January 22nd, Dennis Halft, OP gave a lecture entitled “A treasure trove of Arabic manuscripts and documents in Najaf: The collection of the General Kāshif al-Ghiṭāʾ Foundation” at the Department of Arabic Language and Literature, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

From January 21‒23ʳᵈ, father Jean-Louis Declais gave a 15-hour class to about forty people (seminarians and other participants) for an introduction to Islam, at the Saint-Yves Seminary in Rennes.

On January 24ᵗʰ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP participated in the GECI (Group of Catholic Teachers in Islamic Studies) which met in Marseille. He gave two lectures, the first one entitled “Why proselytism is the bane of Pope Francis?”, and the second one entitled “Arguments and overview of Christian movements in France for the evangelization of Muslims”.

On January 25ᵗʰ and 26ᵗʰ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP gave a lecture entitled “ Books of love, or the ocean of charity in Islam” during the conference of the French School of Yoga (EFY) entitled “Empathy, care, compassion”.

On January 27ᵗʰ, Emmanuel Pisani, OP gave a lecture entitled “The Islamic-Christian dialogue in Morocco in the 20ᵗʰ century” as part of an evening organized by the Institute of Science and Theology of Religions (ISTR) devoted to Islam in Morocco, in partnership with the Thomas More Institute.

On January 31ˢᵗ, Amir Jajé, OP gave a lecture on his book Le chiisme, clés historiques et théologiques, during an event organized by the association “The Friends of the IDEO” at the Dominican priory of the Annunciation in Paris.


On January 8ᵗʰ, we welcomed for lunch Mrs. Agnès Deboulet, director of the CEDEJ, Mrs. Hala Bayoumi and Mrs. Marie Vannetzel, researchers.

Scholars’ House

In January we had the pleasure of receiving in the Scholars’ House Ms. Nadirah Mansour, PhD student at Princeton University; Mr. Torsten Wollina, researcher at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland; father Romain Louge, priest of the diocese of Marseille; Mrs. Rachida Chih, researcher at the Scientific Research National Center; Mr. Ilyass Amharar, PhD student in Islamic theology at INALCO (Paris) and IREMAM (Aix-en-Provence); Mr. Lutz Rogler, researcher in political Islam; and Mrs. Ines Cumerlato, La Pira Library in Italy.


  • Dominique Avon, La liberté de conscience : histoire d’une notion et d’un droit, Rennes, PUR, 2020, 1171 pages.

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Newsletter — December 2019

Dear friends,

On December 18th, we had the pleasure and the honor of paying tribute to Dr. Aly Elsamman (1929‒2017), who played a decisive role in obtaining the construction permission for our new library inaugurated in 2002. Aly Elsamman was a pioneer of interreligious dialogue at a time when few people thought it was possible to talk serenely between Jews, Christians and Muslims. Aly Elsamman cannot be easily labelled. He worked as a journalist, a news agency director, an adviser to President Sadat, a ministerial council director, vice-president of al-Azhar’s standing committee for interreligious dialogue. The Dominican Institute is proud that the reading room of its library now bears his name. The ceremony took place in the presence of his wife Brigitte and his son Sam (photo).

We wish you a beautiful New Year 2020, full of stimulating study and nice encounters.


On December 6th, Emmanuel Pisani, OP gave a lecture entitled “From the Abu Dhabi document on human fraternity to the Mecca Charter: what status for the other?” at the research laboratory “Islam and Otherness” of the Institute of Science and Theology of Religions (ISTR).

On December 11th and 12th, Guillaume de Vaulx participated in the philosophy seminar of the French Institute of the Near East (IFPO) in Beirut entitled “Create—Destroy—Disappear”, during which he gave two lectures, the first one with Hélène Mutter, Sandrine Pelletier and Nibras Chehayed entitled “Art and Destruction”, and the second one with Nibras Chehayed entitled “Innovation, Revolution: What kind of Destruction?”.

On December 14th, Jean Jacques Pérennès, OP gave a lecture entitled “Pierre Claverie and Christian de Chergé: Two Views on the Mystery of Islam” at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.

On December 15th, Jean Druel, OP gave a lecture entitled “The handwritten tradition of Sībawayh’s Kitāb and the influence of the ancient commentaries”, as part of the third conference on Arabic language and linguistics held at the American University in Cairo from December 15th to 17th.

On December 16th, the IDEO co-organized with the IRD Romain Simenel’s lecture entitled “Chanting Memory: Qurʾānic writing as Psalmography”, devoted to the techniques of learning the Qurʾān by heart developed by children in southern Morocco.

On December 19th, Emmanuel Pisani, OP gave a lecture at the Catholic University of Lyon (UCLy) entitled “The Scientist and the Politician: Facing the Authority, the Conservative Audacity of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, a Great Thinker of Islam”. This lecture was organized by the Center for Studies of Cultures and Religions (CECR) as part of its Islamic sciences research laboratory “Authority and Regulation in Islam”.


On December 18th, we welcomed Mrs. Agnès Macquin, librarian of the IFAO, and her team. Our joint project to digitize our oldest books as part of the Web Portal of the Libraries of the Orient, funded by the French National Library, is coming to an end. The IFAO wishes to continue this work, as part of the EGYNUM project funded by CollEx-Persée.


On December 3rd, Jean Druel, OP led a workshop on the transliteration of Arabic into the Latin alphabet for the students of the Department of Arab and Islamic Studies at the American University in Cairo. Several tools are available on the “Toolbox” page of our site.


On December 10th, we welcomed Bishop Wolfgang Huber, President of Missio Munich, and Alexandra Roth, responsible for international relations.

On December 18th, we welcomed for lunch Mr. Guillaume de Vaulx, member of the IDEO and researcher at the IFPO in Beirut.

Scholars’ House

In December we had the pleasure of receiving in the Scholars’ House Mrs Dorothea Reule and Mr. Denis Nosnitsin, researchers at the Hiob Ludolf Centre for Ethiopian Studies at the University of Hamburg; Mrs. Rebecca Skreslet, research associate at the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology; Mrs. Roula Khoury, director of the Center for the Study of the Modern Arab World in Beirut; and Mr. Michel Petit de la Perrelle from the Œuvre d’Orient.


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