Science of the Christian Orient

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The science of the Christian Orient deals with the culture, religion, languages ​​and churches of Christianity in the eastern Mediterranean, the Oriens Christianus . In contrast to Eastern Church Studies , it looks less at the religious context than at general historical, cultural and philological aspects.

As related scientific disciplines also concerned Christian Archeology , the Byzantine , Oriental , patristic , Egyptology , Coptic , Ethiopian , Syrologie , Kart Velo Logie , Armenistik and philological specialties like the Aramaistik , Greek Studies , Arabic , Slavic and Semitic Studies and Social Sciences Sociology and Political science of the Middle East and in particular theology, church history and Eastern ecclesiastical studies with various topics from the Christian Orient and thus serve the science of the Christian Orient as sibling or auxiliary disciplines.

In contrast to the term Christianity in the Orient , the term Christian Orient also includes the development of Christianity and the Christian influence in the entire Arabic and Slavic language area as well as the influence from there on Europe, America and other parts of the world.

In German university policy, the science of the Christian Orient is classified as a minor subject . Of the five universities that offered the subject in the mapping of the minor subjects, three professorships were canceled, so that the subject (as of spring 2019) is only available at the Martin Luther University Halle and the Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen- Nuremberg is taught. In media reports, the subject is described as one of the smallest of the small subjects.


Many oriental Christians were active as scientists , linguists , cultural workers , translators and doctors who made important contributions to their cultural areas. Most of the ancient Greek works were  translated into Aramaic and later into Arabic by scholars of the Christian faith - a well-known representative is Hunayn ibn Ishaq . Thus, in the House of Wisdom founded in Baghdad in 825 , the Greek literature of Aristotle , Plato and others was available to scientists . These works later came to Europe via the scientific centers in Moorish Spain . Today, research is particularly concerned with the Hellenistic influence on Arab science and culture, with the history and culture of Byzantium and the languages ​​and rites of the Eastern churches.

Persons of the Christian Orient

Christians in the Middle East have completed higher schooling as a percentage of their population. The first universities and schools based on Western models and standards were founded by Western theologians and missionaries in the Middle East. B. The College of the Jesuits in early 1810, from which the University of Saint Joseph, Beirut, was founded in 1875, and the Syrian Presbytarian College, founded in 1835, from which the Lebanese-American University, Beirut, founded in 1994, emerged is. These universities are also open to members of other religious communities and to citizens of other countries. Many Palestinian academics have studied at the universities in Beirut.

In addition, stays abroad (for the purpose of study and work) as well as the foreign language skills of Christians in the Middle East are factors that promote their contributions to the further development of local culture, political development and building bridges between cultures.

These are some of the reasons why Oriental Christians are usually disproportionately represented in culture, science, politics and business in their home countries.

Saints from the Christian Orient

Cultural workers in the Christian Orient

Christian rule in the Middle East



  • Christian Orient chairs at universities

Research projects

  • Subproject as part of the DFG Graduate School 1412 "Cultural Orientations and Social Structures in Southeastern Europe" (University of Erfurt)
  • Prosopographical list of women from the Christian East, Uni Eichstätt (since 19?)
  • New edition Georg Graf, Humboldt Research Award
  • Tacticon of the Nikon from the Black Mountains. Critical edition of the Greek and Church Slavonic versions (DFG project)

Scientists of the Christian Orient

  • Georg Graf (1875–1955), scientist of the Christian Orient
  • Louis Cheikhô (1859–1927), scientist of the Christian Orient
  • Carl Anton Baumstark (1872–1948), scientist of the Christian Orient and comparative liturgical scholar
  • Julius Aßfalg (1919–2001), scientist of the Christian Orient
  • Alexander Böhlig (1912–1996), scientist of the Christian Orient, Coptologist and Byzantinist
  • Henri Hyvernat (1858–1941), Coptologist, Semitist and Orientalist
  • Aziz Atiya (1898–1988), Coptologist


Title of some magazines (selection)

Title of some book series


  • Hubert Kaufhold (Hrsg.): Small Lexicon of the Christian Orient . Wiesbaden 2007, ISBN 978-3-447-05382-2 (2nd edition by Julius Aßfalg: Small dictionary of the Christian Orient ).
  • Julius Assfalg, Paul Krüger: Dictionnaire de l'Orient Chrétien . Brepols 1991.
  • Edward G. Farrugia: Dizionario enciclopedico dell'Oriente cristiano . Pontificio Istituto Orientale, Roma 2000.

Reading lists on the Internet

Christian Orient initiatives

Museums on the Christian Orient

The Christian heritage of the oriental churches is documented in various museums: (see also Museums on the Christian Orient )

Theological dialogue initiatives

Individual evidence

  1. Science of the Christian Orient - Master of Arts. Study programs in the two-subject master’s. (No longer available online.) General study advice from the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, archived from the original on May 3, 2015 ; Retrieved July 9, 2015 .
  2. See specialist locations of the Christian Orient , accessed on April 23, 2019.
  3. Wolfgang Krischke: The oriental cradle of Christianity: The science of the Christian Orient has only one professorship. Why is there so little interest in one's own roots and the situation of Christians in Islamic countries? , in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, December 20, 2017, page N4