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by Andrea Barbara SCHMIDT, Lucas VAN ROMPAY, in Luc COURTOIS (ed.), Les études orientales à l’Université de Louvain depuis 1834 (Histoire, 12), Brussels, 2021.
The origin of Syriac studies in Louvain can be traced back to the work of Andreas Masius and to the printing house of Plantin in the 16th century, but it is only in the 19th century, with the appointment of Joannes Theodorus Beelen (1807-1884) to the chair of Sacred Scriptures (1936), that the foundation was laid for Syriac as an academic discipline. Beelen and his students Thomas-Joseph Lamy (1825-1907) and Jean-Baptiste Abbeloos (1836-1906) were committed to the edition, translation, and study of Syriac texts and saw their work in an international context. Jacques Forget (1852-1933) belonged to the same school. Although he became known primarily for his work in Christian Arabic, he taught Syriac for thirty-two years (1900-1932). One of his students, Joseph Lebon (1879-1957) initiated a new approach to the study of the theologies of the non-Chalcedonian churches, based on an unbiased reading of the original sources. His students René Draguet (1896-1980) and Albert Van Roey (1915-2000) as well as André de Halleux (1929-1994) followed him on that path. Among the highlights of Syriac studies is the Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium, carried out and overseen by Louvain scholars since 1913. The 21st millennium witnesses Syriac studies as a vibrant field, which attracts students of different backgrounds and is open to a wide range of interests. Modern technology is instrumental both in preserving and disclosing ancient sources and in enabling new research projects.
Keywords: Syriac language and literature, Eastern Christianity, Joannes Theodorus Beelen, Thomas- Joseph Lamy, Jean-Baptiste Abbeloos, Jacques Forget, Joseph Lebon, René Draguet, Albert Van Roey, André de Halleux, Albin Van Hoonacker, Jean-Baptiste Chabot, Paul Bedjan, Léopold van Helmond, Joseph Muyldermans, Ceslas Van den Eynde, philology, historiography, hagiography, theology, Biblical exegesis, ascetic literature, CSCO, computer technology
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