North American Society for Christian Arabic Studies


The North American Society for Christian Arabic Studies or NASCAS is an informal association of researchers interested in Christian Arabic Studies. While most of us are from the United States and Canada, others are invited and encouraged to participate. Some of us are professors; others are students; others are lay people. All are welcome!


Sixth North American Syriac Symposium (Conference Annoucement)

Duke University (June 26-29, 2011)

Conference theme: Syriac Encounters. "To serve as a general framework and an organizational guideline, the theme of Syriac Encounters has been chosen. It allows us to highlight various kinds of diachronic and synchronic interaction and dialogue, formation of communal identity, construction of tradition, language contact, and religious conversation both within Syriac Christianity and between Syriac Christianity and other traditions, in particular Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, and various forms of Western Christianity. The overall theme is not meant, however, to exclude topics that are not directly related to it." Participants are from North America, Europe, and elsewhere. A wide variety of papers are included on the program, including many on the history of Christianity under Islam and the history of the Arabic-speaking churches. Among the speakers giving plenary address are Alison G. Salvesen, Heleen Murre-van den Berg, and Sidney H. Griffith. Details can be found at the conference website [Posted: 4 Feb 2011]

Le vie del sapere in ambito siro-mesopotamico dal III al IX secolo (Conference Announcement)

Rome (May 12-13, 2011)

There was once a time in the Middle East when the passage of knowledge from one culture to another took place profitably and fruitfully for all the great traditions living in that ancient land. This conference will explore le vie del sapere (Paths of Knowledge), to discern how the schools of the ancient and medieval Middle East functioned, and how independent of religious allegiances, they were a setting of the exchange and free flow of ideas. Presenters will explore historical, philosophical, theological, and other topics. Conference participants are Italian and international, and include many of the senior researchers in Christian Arabic studies. Further information is available at the conference website. [Posted: 3 Feb 2011]

Epidemics in Context: Hippocrates, Galen and Hunayn between East and West (Conference Announcement)

The Warburg Institute (Nov 12–13, 2010)

The seven books of Epidemics are one of the most important parts of the Hippocratic Corpus and famous for their presentation of the case histories of individual patients. Galen of Pergamum wrote extensive commentaries on Books 1, 2, 3, and 6, and his work on Books 2 and 6 survives mostly in Arabic. The Arabic textual tradition of both the Galenic commentary and the Hippocratic lemmas themselves is far superior to the transmitted Greek text. Over the past 18 months, a team at the University of Warwick has been preparing a major edition of the Arabic version of Galen's commentaries on Epidemics 1 and 2 together with an English translation. The Warburg conference aims at bringing together the leading Classical and Arabist medical and textual historians to discuss the Epidemics and Galen’s response to them in a comparative and interdisciplinary environment. The Warwick team's properly constituted text and English translation of Galen on Books 1 and 2 is the first stage of a projected complete edition of the Arabic. It will be made available to speakers and delegates well before the conference to enable full discussion of the fascinating issues and problems it presents. Further information on the project can be found at the project's website. Official conference announcement here [PDF].

Christian Arabic Panel, AOS 2010 (Conference Report)

This year's panel at the American Oriental Society (March 12-15) was a great success. The panel was well attended, and followed by a lively discussion. The organizers of the conference were pleased, as well, and would like to see an annual panel on matters Christian and Arabic.

Prof. Sidney H. Griffith (Catholic University of America) chaired the panel. Four papers were presented:

In addition, David Bertaina (University of Illinois Springfield) presented a paper at another panel. His paper, entitled "‘Ali Converts the Emperor: Power Language in a Medieval Shiite Historical Narrative," was on a number of apocryphal traditions about ‘Ali and his interaction with a certain Byzantine emperor, traditions recording the latter's alleged conversion.

Next year's AOS will meet in Chicago. It is scheduled for March 11-14. It is a wonderful opportunity to present our work to fellow-Arabists and Islamicists. Abstracts will need to be submitted by September 15, 2010. (Please note that this is one month before the AOS official deadline for the submission of abstracts, i.e., October 15.) An official call for papers will go out at a later date. In the meantime, if there are questions or suggestions, please contact Alexander Treiger ( [Posted: March 24, 2010]

Second Annual Panel on Christian Arabic, AOS 2010

The Second Annual Panel on Christian Arabic has been accepted for the upcoming meeting of the American Oriental Society in St. Louis, Missouri, March 12-15, 2010. The panel has been scheduled for Friday, March 12th, 2:15-5:00pm. It will be chaired by Professor Sidney Griffith (Catholic University of America) and will include the following communications:

A complete program of the conference and registration guidelines can be downloaded (link) from the American Oriental Society website. [Posted: Feb 11, 2010]

Goussen Library Collection - Online

"The Goussen library collection is a specialist library for oriental church history. It contains prints in Western classical and modern languages, but predominantly prints in oriental languages such as Syrian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Arabic, Armenian and Georgian languages from the 16th to the 20th century (the focus is on the 18th and the 19th century). The former owner Heinrich Goussen (1863 - 1927) collected nearly every print within the language groups that had ever been published about the subject. The collection contains numerous rare or valuable oriental prints. There could hardly a collection be put together as completely as here, not even from the holdings of large European libraries."

"In 2007 the Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Bonn digitised approx. 850 prints of the Goussen library collection under a programme of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to preserve its holdings. It includes all titles published in Europe until 1800, all publications in the original language as well as all publications that were published outside Europe. For copyright reasons the year 1900 was chosen as the last year of publication to be included in the digitisation project. The digitisation was generally conducted by means of a microfilm, which was produced first. Books with special features (red and black print of the texts, items with illustrations, interleaved copies as well as all prints published until 1800) were digitised in colour."

Ditigized materials can be found here. [Posted to the NASCAS mailing list on Oct. 1, 2009.]

NASCAS - Biographies Needed

Readers are invited to contribute brief biographical accounts of themselves. Please let us know who you are and what you do. It would be especially useful if you would consider letting your colleagues know about your current projects. Please also consider sending a picture of yourself. Any snapshot will do: no need to worry about cropping or resizing the picture. Biographies and pictures should be sent to John Lamoreaux [Posted: May 27 2009]

NASCAS - An Email Discussion Group for Christian Arabic

The North American Society for Christian Arabic Studies sponsors an e-mail discussion group, devoted to the academic study of Arabic-speaking Christian communities, their literature, and their history. The group is open to academics working in Christian Arabic and related fields (Syriac Studies, Patristics, Islamic Studies, Byzantine Studies, etc.), as well as all those interested in the history of Arab and Middle-Eastern Christianity. To join please contact the moderator Alexander Treiger ( It would be helpful if you could include a short statement about who you are and the topics in which you are interested. [Posted: May 25, 2009]

Christian Arabic Panel, AOS 2010 (Call for Papers)

There will be a Christian Arabic panel at the annual meeting of the American Oriental Society, 2010 (St Louis, Missouri, on March 12-15). Abstracts should be emailed to Alexander Treiger (ATreiger@DAL.CA) by Sept. 15. AOS's deadline for submissions is October 15th, 2009. Further details will be posted on the AOS website. All are welcome and encouraged to participate. [Posted: May 21, 2009]

Christian Arabic Panel, AOS 2009 (Conference Report)

The panel at the American Oriental Society meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was a huge success. Four papers were delivered and followed by a lively discussion.

The panel was chaired by Professor Sidney H. Griffith (Catholic University of America), who also presented a Christian Arabic paper in another panel:

Given the success of this first initiative and the positive feedback received from both colleagues and organizers, it has been decided that from now there will be Christian Arabic panels at the AOS every year. This is a great opportunity to put Christian Arabic studies on the map and to draw our colleagues' attention to this unduly neglected field. [Posted: May 21, 2009]