Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies (IDEO)


Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies (IDEO)

Founded in the thirteenth century in southern France, the Order of Preachers quickly took interest in Middle East, where the Order soon settled: in Constantinople, Tunis, Baghdad, and later in Mossul. Dominican masters in Theology owe their knowledge of Aristotle to Arab scholars: Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas wrote commentaries on Averroes and Avicenna.

Unfortunately, international events blocked the project. When, in 1937, Dominican friars decided to dedicate themselves to Islamic studies, Cairo seemed to them the ideal location: the prestigious University of al-Azhar is in Cairo; also, Egyptian culture has a prominent place throughout the Arab world.

The intuition of the three founding friars, Georges AnawatiJacques Jomier and Serge de Beaurecueil, was met by the Vatican’s call for religious to take Islam seriously; not to convert Muslims but to make Islam better known and appreciated in its religious and spiritual dimensions. These three started their work after World War II, at the beginning of the1950’s, and founded on March 7, 1953 the Dominican Institute of Oriental Studies (IDEO); today, a well-known research institute mainly dedicated to the sources of Arab and Islamic civilization.

The Library

IDEO is proud to grant access to its library to all scholars. This library is considered one of the best in the field of Islamic studies. It gathers over 125,000 monographs, and nearly 1,800 journals and periodicals.

The library is intended to cover all disciplines in the Islamic studies area: Arabic language, Quran exegesis, theology, law and jurisprudence, history, philosophy, Sufism, science… It offers more than 20,000 classical texts of the Arab-Islamic heritage, but also many studies in Arabic or European languages. Many PhD dissertations are also available on site.

The library also offers its readers free consultation of the digital libraries JSTOR and Cairn.

IDEO’s Members

Here is the current list of members of the Institute.

– Alberto Ambrosio, O.P.

– Mr. Dominique Avon

– Jean-François Bour, O.P.

– David Burrell, C.S.C.

– Adrien Candiard, O.P.

– Rémi Chéno, O.P., General Secretary

– Mr. Ahmad Chleilat

– Michel Cuypers, P.F.J.

– Fr. Fadi Daou

– Fr. Jean-Louis Déclais

IDEO Seminars

IDEO currently offers four seminars:

1. A general seminar, devoted to the Arab-Muslim culture. About two sessions monthly, either in Arabic, or French or English. Free of charge and open to all. Subscribe here to receive the invitationsClick here to read the reports of the previous sessions.

2. A seminar devoted to contemporary human sciences. One session monthly, in Arabic. See here the program 2016—2017.

3. A seminar of Islamic Studies for the French-speaking students at al-Azhar University. Click here to read the reports of the previous sessions. This seminar is organized as part of the cooperation between IDEO and al-Azhar University.

4. An introductory seminar to Islamic philosophy and theology. One session weekly, in English, for the Institute’s fellows.


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