The Annual Conference of the Arab-Christian Heritage Network Meets in Cairo

Sent On: 
Mon, 2023-02-27
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On February 24th and 25th, the annual meeting of the "Friends of the Arab-Christian Heritage" (Aṣdiqāʾ al-Turāth ʿArabī Masīḥī) research network held its annual meeting in cooperation with the Centre for Middle Eastern Christianity at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. Organized several decades ago by Fr. Samīr Khalīl Samīr, S.J. (d.1938), the 2023 conference was the 31st meeting for the network. The study group is focused on early Arabic Christian theology from around the rise of Islam until the medieval period, although some presentations address more contemporary topics. The meeting this year was held under the theme of  “The Holy Bible in Arabic: Translations, Interpretation, Liturgy, and Islamic Sources.” 


(The tenth and final session presented on Saturday evening)


Representative presentations included the following: 

  • The Bible in Coptic Monasticism and Monasteries”
  • The Bible in Arabic before the Rise of Islam: Evidences of Presence and Types of Borrowing” 
  • “Job in Jewish and Muslim Tradition: Elucidations from Maimonides and Ibn Kathīr”
  • “Arabic Theologians and Their Responses to the Accusation that the Holy Bible was Corrupted”
  • The Philosophy and Method of Ibn Kalīl (d.1206) in Biblical Interpretation: His Introduction to the Gospel of Matthew as an Example”

The Arab-Christian Heritage network is explicitly ecumenical and draws participants and attendees from all of the major Christian denominations in Egypt. It is an indication of how significant this classical heritage is for many Christians in the Middle East. It is worth highlighting that the conference also draws Muslim presenters and attendees who value this heritage. One Muslim student I spoke with after the conference emphasized how grateful he was for all that he had learned about Arabic Christian theology. The proceedings from the annual conferences are published by the Franciscan Cultural Centre in Cairo.


(Proceedings from the 29th and 30th conferences published by the Franciscan Cultural Centre)


On a personal note, I would like to thank Dr. Wagīh Mīkhāʾīl for inviting me to this inspiring conference. After completing his doctorate on early Arab Christianity at the University of Birmingham (U.K.) under Professor David Thomas, Dr. Mīkhāʾīl has done much to encourage interest in this important legacy in Egypt and the broader Middle East. 


With best wishes,


Matthew Anderson 

Executive Editor

Dialogue Across Borders


February 27, 2023



Helpful Links


Additional Photos from Conference


The Centre for Middle Eastern Christianity (ETSC)


The Franciscans in Egypt