Prolegomena to the Study of Arabic ChristianityIdentity – Origins – Present-Day Picture
The article was divided into three main chapters. In the first one there is offered an attempt to delineate the Arab Christian identity. The second chapter focuses on the historical origins of Arab Christianity; the overall history is consciously omitted. The third, and the last, chapter concentrates on the current view of Arab Christianity. Primarily we examine the statistical summary, to prove that not every Arab is a Muslim. Finally, we will try to identify the fundamental challenges facing the Czech studies of Arab Christianity.
Samir Khalil Samir SJ
Cultural Role of Christians in the Arab World
The study examines the role played by Christians in the Arab world in the fields of culture and education. It outlines their role in the reception of Hellenic culture by the Arab world, and especially the translation of their key works into Arabic. The second part deals with the early modern period missions among Arab Christians and their role in acceptance of the impulses of the modern world (e.g. book-printing). The author emphasizes the fundamental characteristic of Arab Christians as rooted into their own tradition and at the same time open to the new influences.
Islam and Subjugated PeopleView to the Book of Jack Tajir “Copts and Muslims” (Cairo, 2010)
The study presents the Melkite Egyptian historian Jack Tajir, and his revelatory book from 1952, who – unlike traditional Coptic authors – describes the circumstances of the Islamization of Egypt without concealing its negative aspects. Vision of Egyptian Coptic–Arab alliance there recedes under the weight of historical materials through which Tajir sees the process of degradation of the Christian lifestyle and stubborn efforts of Copts to maintain in their isolation the millennial wealth of their own values. A special place is therefore dedicated to the principle of dhimma, which regulated the way of life of non-Muslim population in Muslim countries. A probe into the life of Egyptian Christians is complemented by translation of extensive excerpts from the Tajir’s book.
Alois Musil and Theological Reading of Arab Christian Tradition
The study points at work of the Czech Priest, Theologian, and Arabist Alois Musil (1868–1944), whose extraordinary knowledge of the Arabic world allowed him among others to lay the groundwork of Czech theological reflection of Arab Christianity. The reflexion is based primarily on his courage to create a distinctive theological approach towards the studied matter constituted on personal contact, research, and on thorough reading of both published and unpublished texts. Especially inspiring is his description of the historical role of Arab Christianity as evangelizers and missionaries of richly developed culture – a culture which inspired and cultivated the first generations of Muslims who were trying to form a specific theology and philosophy of Islam. A part of this study is the release of Musil’s unpublished article from 1942, “Christians in Arabia”.
Infidels, Leave!Current Persecution of Christians in Specific Muslim Countries
The study in the first place maps the relevant scientific literature on the topic of the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries, and then goes through the specific regions. The author differentiates Turkey, Cyprus and Azerbaijan as – at first glance –relatively peaceful countries, where, however, hostility against Christians has a more hidden form. Another group of countries, described as the “calm before the storm” group are Lebanon, Jordan and Israel/Palestine. Under the label “restrictive tolerance and open hatred” he monitors the situation in Iran and Saudi Arabia. As a situation “head-to-head” the author sees Egypt and Ethiopia. The most critical areas then are Syria and Iraq.
Monastic Community of Al- Khalil and Jesuit Father Paolo Dall’Oglio
Context and Edition of the Document “The Vocation of the Monastic Community in the Muslim World”
The article introduces the personality of Jesuit Priest Paolo Dall’Ogliho, a great connoisseur and admirer of the Arab world, a founder of Syrian monastic community al- Khalil, which he founded with intention to create a place of dialogue between Islam and Christianity. During the war conflict in 2013 Dall’Oglio was kidnapped by Islamists, and since there is no news about him, although it is assumed that he is no longer alive. The document constitutes the program text of the community.
Profile of Palestinian Saints Mary of Jesus Crucified and Marie-Alphonsine
The article presents the first two Palestinian saints, Carmelite Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified (1846–1878), and Marie-Alfonsine (1843–1927), a founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Rosary, both of which were canonized in the 2015. There is an introspection of the spiritual specifics of the region constantly seeking reconciliation for Christians, Jews and Muslims.
Manual for a Healthy View on IslamAttempt to Apply the Conclusions of the Declaration Nostra Aetate, Art. 3
The study is based on stimuli from Declaration on the relation of the Catholic Church with non-Christian Religions Nostra Aetate, or more precisely, its 3rd article devoted to Islam. The intention was to create a kind of preliminary guide that would provide a reader (not just the Christian one) a basic perspective on Islam. The first part of the study deals with the Declaration Nostra Aetate itself, and briefly highlights some of its benefits. The second part presents several theological views on Islam. In the third part of the study the author opposes some presumptions against Islam and provides concise answers. The final fourth part presents in a deeper way Islam itself in its internal diversity, richness, tensions, but also in its unquestionable crisis.