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Classics

Those Crucial Questions Translated into Arabic

Author: Luigi Giussani Traduzione in Arabo: Sanaa Fadhil, Sobhy Makhoul e Camille Eid Title: al-Hiss ad-dini (The Religious Sense) Publisher: Milan 2006, 188 pp.

It is not usual to begin a review with an accusation against the work that is presented to the reader. The accusation, in this specific case, is that this work has been the cause of some sleepless nights. This experience is very important because the reading of this book for the reviewer was an opportunity to meet Msgr. Luigi Giussani, who has recently died.

 

The contents of this book have been the subject of various analyses and presentations since the publication of the first edition in Italian.

 

We should observe above all that these pages never cease to pose crucial questions to the reader. The point of departure, or rather the central theme, if not indeed the key word of the work, is 'realism'. This makes this book an extremely important document at the theological level and more specifically at the level of practical theology. After the Second Vatican Council theology has no longer been seen as a purely 'speculative' or 'scholastic' (in the negative sense of the term) science but as a reflection (or reasoning) that emanates from the 'lives' of men. The 'real' is no longer a fixed and definitive observation but a 'sign' that calls to a going beyond, an invitation to go beyond, towards a greater reality that transcends it. The real is a source and a receptacle of truth, an 'education in freedom', an 'adventure of interpretation' which is continual and always new. And reality is related to the infinite through reason, which is conscious of being in the presence of Mystery. It is specifically this fact that endows reason with its dynamism of never stopping, even when it reaches the limit of its possibilities. 'Our nature is a need for truth and completion, that is to say for happiness'; for this reason it must give itself over to the absolute, to the transcendent, and to Revelation.

 

Let us greatly welcome the idea of translating this work by Giussani into Arabic. The translation in itself, the work of Arabs, is excellent and many checks have demonstrated its quality and its faithfulness to the thinking of the author. It is clearly evident that the translators knew Giussani and have provided a more than suitable rendition of his thought. Apart from the desire to make the author and this work known to the Arab world, and to enrich the Christian library of reason with thought that is easily adaptable to the ecclesial life of that part of the world, this translation helps in the development of research and the development of the theological vocabulary in Arabic, which is at the present time being formed. At a pastoral level, the work meets the questions of Arab Christians, and in particular young Arab Christians. In this work they will not find pre-wrapped answers but a methodology for reflection that will help them to open themselves to the ultimate meaning of their lives, which they continually pursue.

 

This review cannot be ended without expressing a reservation at the level of form with respect to this translation. Would the work not perhaps have gained from a respecting of Arab typographical conventions? The vocalisation is totally absent, there are almost no shaddah to indicate the double consonants, nor are there tanwîn.

 

Another reservation relates to the absence of an important instrument which would help the development of a theological vocabulary in Arabic, that is to say an index that presents the important theological terms and the equivalents in Arabic that are used. This would make the efforts of Arabic-speaking theologians easier and richer, and would add to the efforts that are currently being made, at the level of research, in the field of Christian Arab literature.

 

Lastly, may we hope that there will also be a translation of the other two parts of PerCorso?

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