Acta Orientalia Belgica XXXV - DÉTAILS

AOB XXXV | Orients pluriels - 2022, xxxiv + 362 pages

Orients pluriels
Liber amicorum Samir Arbache

Édité par

Christian CANNUYER

Avec le soutien de

Commission Recherche de l’Université catholique de Lillen - Centre d’études orientales - Institut Orientaliste de Louvain (CIOL), Louvain-la-Neuve - Solidarité-Orient/Werk voor het Oosten (Bruxelles)

Illustration de couverture

Fuite en Égypte. Icône de l’église des Saints-Constantin-et-Hélène à Yabroud (Syrie), ville natale de S. Arbache. OEuvre de Mīkhā’īl al-Dimashqī, 1740.


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p. ix - S. Exc. Mgr Joseph (+) Jules ZEREY, archevêque titulaire de Damiette des grecs melkites catholiques, vicaire patriarcal émérite de Jérusalem, Préface

p. xv - Mounir ARBACH, avec la collaboration de Christian CANNUYER, Samir Arbache, la passion des Orients pluriels, notice biobibliographique

A bio-bibliographical sketch of Professor Samir Arbache (born in 1946 in yabroud, Syria), to whom this volume is dedicated on the occasion of his 75th birthday. An orientalist trained at the Catholic University of Louvain, he taught at the Lille Faculty of Theology from 1993 to 2020. In the Christian sphere, he taught Christology, the mystery of the Trinity, the theology of religious pluralism, ecumenism, oriental patrology, the spirituality of the Desert Fathers and the textual criticism of the New Testament; in the Muslim sphere, he gave courses on the discovery of Islam, on Sufism, the sciences of the Koran, Islamic-Christian dialogue and the Arabic language. A passionate actor in the dialogue between East and West, Samir Arbache has never ceased to enrich his personal approach to the theological, spiritual and cultural heritage of Christianity and Islam.

p. xxxi - Tabula Gratulatoria


p. 3 - Michel CASTRO, La Révélation comme parole de Dieu et parole humaine

God does not speak, he makes us speak. Any divine revelation is anthropologically conditioned, it does not fall directly from heaven. Unlike pagan religions, the Bible bears witness to this. the Second Vatican Council suggests this. Scripture, tradition, the Magisterium are privileged witnesses to the word of God. But the latter is always linked to the meaningfull activity of God’s people. In the same way, God does not act, he gives us to act.

p. 17 - Stéphanie ANTHONIOZ, La crise syro-éphraïmite et la fin du royaume d’Israël (734-722 av. n. è.)

This contribution focuses on both historical and methodological questions about biblical texts: what place should be offered to them, while archaeological data continue to advance our knowledge of the levant and the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah? Can they still contribute to historical analysis? The case study proposed here is the end of the kingdom of Israel (722 BC), preceded by the so-called "Syro-Ephraimite" crisis according to the biblical witnesses of the books of Isaiah and Kings. The redactional and critical analysis of the first section of Amos'book, crossed with that of the Assyrian annals, shows that the Amosian oracles against the nations, which may be situated at the time of the campaigns of Tiglath-Pileser III, does not adopt the ideology of a bilateral crisis, according to the books of Isaiah and Kings, but that of a regional crisis as shown in the Assyrian annals. The literary structure of these oracles shows that it is clearly anchored in that crisis, even if one Judean rereading has been favoured, as the fates of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah followed a smiliar path.

p. 41 - Jean-Claude HAELEWYCK, L’institution des Douze en Mc 3,13-16a. Un cas paradigmatique en critique textuelle du Nouveau Testament grec

An analysis of the numerous textual variants of Mk 3:13-16a (the Choosing of the Twelve) allows us to bring to bear all the resources of textual criticism of the Greek New Testament. Verbal criticism brings to light the numerous voluntary and involuntary modifications of the passage in question. External criticism demonstrates that the main variant 'those whom he called apostles' (οὓς καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν) is absent around 150 C.E. throughout the Christian world, including syria, and only appears from 200 C.E. onwards in the Alexandrian and Caesarean texts (though geographically restricted). Internal criticism also demonstrates the absence of the variant. These words, added secondly at the beginning of the ministry of the Twelve (Mk 3:13-19), intend to establish a connection with Mk 6 where the end of their ministry (Mk 6:6b-30) is related. It is thus necessary, in a critical edition, to retain the shorter text.

p. 55 - Christian Bernard AMPHOUX, Les langues de l’écriteau de Pilate et le sens du mot « nazôréen » (Jn 19, 19-20)

The order of languages on pilate's sign, in Jn 19,20, raises a problem, because Latin comes before Greek, and we suggest seeing there an allusion to pilate's "Acts", which would have been the source of the evangelist for the writing of the trial of Jesus. Already, in the wording of the sign, the word translated as "from Nazareth" presents difficulties and also refers to the messianic function of Jesus. In this word, the sound / o /, which cannot be accounted for by etymology, refers to gematria and finds an explanation to give Jesus the main qualities of the messianic function.


p. 67 - Christian CANNUYER, Trois ampoules de saint Ménas inédites : autour des origines de l'iconotype du saint entouré de chameaux

Publication of three flasks (ampullae) of Saint Menas belonging to the author. All three show the classic image of the praying saint surrounded by two camels on both sides. The first two are of the most common type, very popular between the late 5th and early 7th centuries. The third is of a much rarer type. the author raises the question, which he had already explored in a paper published in 1997, of a possible continuity between Horus-cippi – where the god, dominating crocodiles, controls dangerous animals at arm's length – and the ampullae depicting Saint Menas surrounded by camels. The discovery by Peter Grossmann of blocks with pharaonic reliefs in the walls of the first phase of the baptistery of the Abu Mina's martyrial complex may corroborate the hypothesis, insofar as it suggests that the site was already used for cult activities before the building of the Christian sanctuary.

p. 99 - Bernard OUTTIER, Un mēmrā d’Éphrem le Syrien

This article is the first published French translation of a moral discourse delivered by Ephrem the Syrian from a unique manuscript dating from the twelfth Century. This translation aims at improving the edited text by using a manuscript of the sixth/seventh Century.

p. 115 - Philippe HENNE, Quand Jean Chrysostome se croyait intouchable (juin 404-septembre 407)

At the very beginning of his second exile, John was convinced that it wouldn’t take a long time that he would be recalled by the people and the emperor himself, as it happened during his first exile. He therefore managed his ecclesiastical business like usual. He wasn’t aware of the harshness of the imperial angriness, especially in 406 as the emperor rejected the Roman embassy. The numerous letters, he wrote during this period, express this misunderstanding : he complained about his health, but still comforted his friends. During the winter 406-407, he lost any hope, but meditated the episode of the three young Hebrew thrown in the furnace : he kept on glorifying the lord.

p. 131 - Marc MALEVEZ, Les vierges synesaktiques dans le Quod regulares viris cohabitare non debent de Jean Chrysostome

John Chrysostom’s Quod regulares viris cohabitare non debent deals with synesaktic virgins. It follows the Contra eos qui subintroductas habent that castigates the other part of those couples, shameful in the eyes of pagans and God, namely synesaktic monks. According to John, those virgins in their bodies but with a defiled soul are doomed to eternal punishment and have only one solution: separation from their companion whom they keep captive.

p. 147 - Christian BOUDIGNON, Le traité 4 des Conversions religieuses de Théodore Abū Qurra

Theodore Abū Qurra, one of the first Christian Arabic writer in the 9th Century after Christ, wrote a treatise on religious conversions (treatise 4 in Bāshā edition). It displays the traditionnal clerical art of defamation against the Christians who converted to Islam. The text seems to be a testimony to the expansion toward East and South of Syriac Christianity, which started in the 5th Century through monk’s predication. Monastic ascetism is a sign of the transcendental nature of Christianity according to Theodore Abū Qurra. However, it may have been precisely the reason why some ambitious Christians rejected Christianity, as they were attracted by the hope for social promotion and easier life in Islam. A French translation of the Arabic text is given at the end of the paper.

p. 163 - Adel SIDARUS, La fascinante synthèse culturelle copto-arabe du treizième siècle

During the 13th century, the Christian community in egypt witnessed an extraordinary cultural efflorescence, which resulted in an abundant Coptic-Arabic literary production, lacking neither originality nor quality. Most of the authors, some of whom belonged to the clergy but many were lay people, highly educated, often simultaneously, the different fields of human knowledge: universal history and chronology; civil and canon law; linguistics, in this case the study of Coptic language; biblical exegesis; philosophy and theology; and some secular sciences. The importance of the encyclopaedic genre must also be emphasised. This literature is characterised by the universalism of its sources and horizons. Entering the scene towards the end of the long process of general Arabization of the Middle east, the Christians of Egypt took advantage of the immense work already done by Eastern Christians of other denominations in the previous centuries; they accepted this heritage and resolutely went on with the Arabization of the Christian culture in the region.

p. 173 - Mahmoud ZIBAWI, Cinq icônes melkites du dix-huitième siècle conservées à Yabroud

Description of five Melkite icons from the Aleppo school, dating from the first decades of the 18th century and preserved in the Church of Saints Constantine and Helen in Yabrud (Syria): St. george (1705), scenes from the life of St. Elijah (1734), Flight into Egypt (painting by Michael of Damascus, 1740), Saints Peter and Paul, and St. Michael the Archangel Psychopomp.

p. 189 - Thibault JOANNAIS, L’impardonnable Cristina Campo. Entre refus de la réforme liturgique et fascination pour l’Orient byzantin

Vittoria Guerrini also known as Cristina Campo (1923-1977) is not very famous among italian writers, but her spiritual and liturgical journey is of the utmost interest. Born and raised as a Catholic, she became a true believer only as an adult, after a long and painful conversion. A lover of beauty, she discovered the magnificence of the Latin Gregorian liturgy while intensifying her faith. The reform of the liturgy after the second Vatican Council shocked her deeply. She went fighting for the preservation of Latin as the Language of the Church and of Gregorian chants, at least in the abbeys and convents. as one of the founders of Una Voce, she spent a lot of energy and time trying to save the legacy of the ancient tradition. Around the end of her life, she often visited the Collegium Russicum, where she could rediscover a magnificent liturgy, which enabled her to find an answer to her mystic quest.


p. 209 - Michel YOUNÈS, De la théologie des religions à la théologie de l’islam

In a Christian theological context, reflection on the meaning of diversity of religions and their involvement in salvation history is increasingly prominent. The confession of salvation universally offered to all, the recognition of the fullness of the revelation of a god who became close to us in the person of Jesus, or the entry into the new covenant through the death and resurrection of Christ, raise questions about the seriousness with which religions and their systems of thought are taken into account. They also call into question the place of the Church as the people of god or the place of baptism which it announces to the world. Finally, among the religions, the appearance of Islam after the advent of Christ again raises specific theological challenges. Does it constitute an exception among the plurality of religions? What appropriate view can Christian theology of religions take of this religious reality which seems so close and yet so different?

p. 233 - Robert Martin KERR, Du désir à la louange. À propos de la racine ḥmd et de la « préhistoire » de Muḥammad

p. 267 - Jan M.F. VAN REETH, Malḥama - mǝlaḥmūtâ, Bethléem : où la divinité devient apparente, là est le prophète musulman

Paul Casanova, in his innovative book Mohammed et la Fin du Monde, characterised the Prophet of islam as nabī al-Malḥama : the Prophet of the last apocalyptic battle, and therefore invested with a divine mission, but he failed to define his precise relationship to God : was he a kind of incarnation as Jesus Christ is for the Christians or was he something else? According to the earliest Islamic doctrine, all prophets are invested with a divine presence, but without a hypostatic union or consubstantiality. Consequently, the notion malḥama can only refer to the place, i.e. the human body, that the divine principle is using as its temporary instrument.

p. 287 - Daniel DE SMET, Al-Ghazālī et les Ismaéliens. Les « ignominies » (faḍā’iḥ) des bāṭiniyya et la synthèse ghazālienne entre avicennisme et soufisme

Among the apparent contradictions and inconsistencies in al-Ghazālī's thought, his ambiguous position towards Ismā‘īlī Shi‘ism is perhaps the most difficult to explain. In his polemical works against the Nizaris of Alamūt, he gives a distorted and malicious presentation of their doctrines concerning God, creation and cosmology, probably taken from previous Ash‘arite (and perhaps Zaydi) polemical literature. Nevertheless, some details indicate that he may have had first hand knowledge of Ismā‘īlī works. Moreover, in his anti-Ismā‘īlī fatwā included in the Faḍā’iḥ albāṭiniyya, he even confesses that he agrees with certain of their conceptions about God's transcendence. Finally, in the Ma‘ārij al-quds, he develops a theory about the divine Command as an intermediary level between the transcendent God and the Intellect, his first creature, which is very close to 10th century ismā‘īlī speculations. a similar affinity with Ismā‘īlī positions also appears in the last part of the Mishkāt al-anwār, opening the possibility that al-Ghazālī considered Isma‘ilism as a necessary stage in his intellectual and spiritual evolution from theology and philosophy to Sufism.


p. 307 - Alain J. DESREUMAUX, Trois inscriptions araméennes melkites de la Provincia arabia en Jordanie du Nord

Publication of three Melkite Aramaic inscriptions found in northern Jordan : 1) a mosaic inscription at Ḥayyān al-mušrif ; 2) a mosaic inscription at riḥab ; 3) an inscribed sherd at riḥab.

p. 321 - Georges BOHAS, Le « sentiment » de la racine

This article starts with the current dogmatic conception which highlights the conscious aspect of the working of roots in Arab-speakers. Thirty-nine doctoral students were given a test including 20 words. The results clearly demonstrated that they didn't have conscious access to the asl root. We can then draw the consequences regarding the reading and teaching of Arabic.


p. 339 - Cathy LEBLANC, Comment le nazisme peut nous aider à comprendre l’emprise de Daech

Extreme violence has been set up by terrorist organizations in a recent past. Countries such as Syria or African countries are fighting and hope to find their freedom back one day. Understanding the mechanisms which govern terrorist groups is essential. In the past many studies were published about Nazism and the atrocities the Nazis were capable of. The idea of this article is to suggest the use of tools made available by those studies in order to gain a better understanding of Islamist groups and manage to take the control back. Understanding is a way of finding one's liberty and thus to overcome a state of alienation.

p. 353 - Nicolas TENAILLON, « Je porte la Syrie dans mon cœur ». Le pape François et la Syrie

Pope Francis frequently expresses his fondness to Syria, a country tormented by civil war. This cradle of Christendom, which gave five popes to the Catholics, has certainly never been forgotten by the supreme pontiffs. But Pope Francis’ commitment differs significantly from that of his predecessors. This article aims at showing that, beyond the requirements of his office, it is Pope Francis’ sensitivity and theology that push him to say that he carries Syria in his heart.