The accepted standard of Christian poetry in an Islamic context is disclosed in this two-volume collection that contains vocalized Arabic poems, biographical introductions, and commentary. Volume one includes poets from before the Islamic period while volume two covers those during the Islamic period.
As testimony to the windfall represented by the Arabic contribution to Christian poetry, Cheikho brought together this two-volume collection of Arabic Christian poets. The first volume contains poems from before Islam, while the second is devoted to those coming during the Islamic period. Beginning with the poets of Yemen, volume one of the collection moves through the regions of Najd, Hijaz, the tribes of ‘Adnan and Rabi’a, and the poets of Iraq. Volume two divides the poets into eras, beginning with poets of the mukhadram, Ummayyad and Abbasid periods, and running through the late nineteenth century. In addition to a selection of vocalized Arabic poetry, this substantial collection contains a biography of each poet included, as well as commentary on the individual poems. Ubiquitously referred to as a source for Christianity in an Islamic context, this set would be welcome in any Arabist’s library.
Louis Cheikho (1859-1927) was a Jesuit priest in Lebanon and was one-time director of the Bibliothèque Oriental in Beirut. Fr. Cheikho collected poetry during the course of his travels to acquire manuscripts throughout Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey.