Newsletter — November 2016


Dear friends,

Some have reacted to our previous newsletter, finding it very elitist and not very down-to-earth. November was full of all kinds of down-to-earth activities, which are always beautiful and instructive, activities which sent us back to our books and our scholarly studies. Our life here is like a round-trip! Thank you for following us, or preceding us, in this adventure!

Thesis defense

On November 19, M. Guillaume de Vaulx brilliantly defended his doctoral thesis at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, under the direction of Mr. Marwan Rashed. His work once again takes up the controversial issue of the paternity of Rasāʾil Iḫwān al-Ṣafāʾ and opens new perspectives based on the philosophic contents of this encyclopedia of knowledge traditionally dated from the 4th/10th century, and that he prepones the datation to the end of the 3rd/9th century.

Cooperation agreement with al-Azhar University

On November 27, we had the pleasure to finally sign a cooperation agreement with al-Azhar University, with their two French sections, one in the Faculty of Language and Translation (for men) and one in the Faculty of Human Sciences (for women). Negotiations had been ongoing since March of last year. The friendship and perseverance of the students and teachers were stronger than the administrative and ideological reservations. We will now be able to plan activities in common.

Conferences and teachings

On November 7 and 8, Guillaume de Vaulx and Hani Daniel, OP participated in the second conference of philosophy at the University of Alexandria, which was dedicated to the reading and interpretation of philosophical texts.

On November 12 and 13, Father Jean-Louis Déclais spoke in Lille, France at a meeting of fifty members of the Mess’AJE movement (who focuses on the formation of catechists for adults); he suggested reading many parts of the Qur’an, in particular Surah 7 (see his article in MIDEO).

From November 7 to December 5, Emilio Platti, OP will teach a 54-hour course on “Christianity and Islam” at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila (Philippines).

Interreligious dialogue

On November 12, Jean Druel, OP accompanied Father Khaled Akasheh in his visit to al-Azhar, in preparation for a meeting day between the Vatican and al-Azhar next February.

On November 17, Jean-François Bour, OP and Jean Druel, OP met Prof. Oussama Nabil (al-Azhar University) in preparation of SNRM’s study trip to Cairo next April. SNRM is the agency of the French Bishop’s Conference for the relations with Muslims.


On November 6, we received M. Michał Murkociński, ambassador of Poland in Cairo, and his wife for a lunch and visit.  

On November 9, we received M. Thomas Goldberger, Deputy Ambassador of the United States in Cairo. He was accompanied by a delegation from the US embassy.    

On November 22, we received Mrs. Eva Dadrian and M. Magdy Abdelhadi, journalists at the BBC, who are preparing a radio program about al-Azhar.    

Scholars’ House

During November, we had the pleasure to receive Ms. Zsuzsanna Csorba and Mr. István Lánczky, PhD students at Catholic University of Hungary, Ms. Manel Belhadj Ali, PhD student at Paris-Sorbonne University, Mr. Stéphane Pradines, from the Aga Khan University in London, and Mr. Ahmad Abd al-Rahim, independent researcher.

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