Sacred Music...Music for Peace

Saturday, July 28, 2012

"Music is a universal language. When a nation shares the language, traditions and life, also shares the music and cultural influences that give rise to texts, expressions and musical compositions of its members despite being from different religions. Music is an attractive and potentially fruitful channel for building understanding..."
So writes Renee, another researcher I met in Malta.  I think she makes a very good point- sacred music lifts people up to God and builds bridges, going beyond political rhetoric. This will be an important way to build peace. Check out Renee's website, with some beautiful music to listen to, and further excellent ideas on music for shared understanding at: (Use google chrome for a good translation.)

Looking for Arabic manuscripts or word usage?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How did early Muslims (and Christians) use various terms in Arabic? eg how did they use jihad? A great resource is The Arabic Papyrology Database. Run by the Universität Zürich, Orientalisches Seminar, this database is very useful, being fully searchable and well organised etc. It is amazing how many documents are available, but somehow tragic that so little work has been done on them! Very few have been studied or published.

A good conference is a wonderful thing :-)

So many new friends, lots of research contacts, new ideas and resources, plus a good look at Malta- that was last week, a memorable time. A good conference is a wonderful thing :-) Now its time to email all my new friends, share research papers, ask more questions, and connect even more with the network. There were about 200 people at the Symposium Syriacum and about 100 at the Christian Arabic conference. Six days of papers and connecting. Plus some time walking the narrow streets (where crusaders walked), and visiting the church of the shipwreck of St Paul.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yet another great new resource! Dumbarton Oaks Syriac resource portal.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Edessa Bible- OT Peshitta info:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Great Byzantium portal: 

How we use our words- jihad or struggle?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

It bothers me when people use words incorrectly, especially when it has major social conflict implications. One example is an issue central to my research- that the English word "struggle" (or "wrestle") is the best translation of jihad, yet in the West we continue to not-translate it, which keeps the word as a symbol of the alien "other" of Islam. This "othering" has consequences. "We" have our struggles for "freedom" but "they" have their nasty jihad! It is so hypocritical. And I've noticed this in all European languages. The French and Spanish have their lutte and lucha, and the Germans their kampf, but they refuse to translate jihad too.
This results in increased levels of inter-communal violence and allows extremist "white" groups to perpetuate hate. It's time for people in the West to be honest about translating jihad, especially when the Arabic Bible has Jesus undergoing a jihad in the Garden of Gethsamene! English texts and articles and blog entries etc should no longer use "jihad" but instead "struggle" or "wrestle", and the equivalent applies in all European languages.
This post is part of an Orthodox synchroblog, that is, a number of Orthodox Christian bloggers have written blog posts on the same general topic on the same day, with links to the other posts on the same topic, so it should be possible to surf from one post to the other, and read them all if one wants to.
The theme of this month’s synchroblog is “The words we use”.

+ Annalisa Boyd (Orthodox) of The Ascetic Lives of Mothers on Let the Words of My Mouth
+ Cristina Perdomo (Orthodox Christian — Orthodox Church in America (OCA)) of Reachingfromadistance on Cement
+ Dn Stephen Hayes (Orthodox Christian) of Khanya on What’s that you were saying?
+ Elizabeth Perdomo (Orthodox Christian) of Living a Liturgical Life on What About Words?
+ Katherine Bolger Hyde (Orthodox Christian) of God-Haunted Fiction on Eat Your Words
+ Susan Cushman (Orthodox Christian) of Pen & Palette on How We Use Our Words: “Christian” is Not an Adjective
If you are a blogger and would like to take part in future Orthodox synchroblogs, there is a mailing list for participants at YahooGroups, where you can get more information, and where we will discuss future topics, etc.