Study Circles

Zouk Mikayel

Notre Dame University
P.O. Box 72
Zouk Mikayel

Contact: Dr. Edward Alam

“Although we were not as active last year as we would like to have been, we had a successful meeting that I would like to highlight,” Edward Alam says. In attendance were Dr. Jean-Pierre el Asmar (Dean of Faculty of Architecture, Arts, and Design), Mrs. Patricia el Asmar, Kenneth Mortimer, Dr. Doumit Salameh, Dr. Dina Nseir, Dr. Habib Malik (Presenter), and Dr. Edward J. Alam. The group conversed about the article “The Logic of Christian Humanism” by Peter M. Candler, Jr. from the Spring 2009 issue.

“Several themes from the essay were presented by Habib C. Malik and discussed among the members,” Edward reports. They are the following:

  1. “Secular Humanism’s unacknowledged Christian heritage.” Here the group mentioned that “continuities between the Medieval and Renaissance periods are emphasized with clear Christian infusions from the former into the latter while preserving the glories of the pagans. The preservative and synthetic animus is unique to Christianity. Christian triumph is not the same as crude triumphalism.”
  2. “The central mystery of the Incarnation is the logic of a properly Christian humanism,” as well as the Imago Dei.

With this theme, Dr. Malik presented “Pope Gregory’s dictum: baptize pagan places of worship so that their stone structures can enclose the living Church.” Edward also mentioned what he called “‘the universality of Christian humanism according to Gregory of Nazianzus.’ In this perspective, the whole of humanity is assumed by God in Christ, and therefore saved.” Within these statutes of Christianity that which remains of the pagan insights and humanistic philosophies must be taken up—in all of their natural truth—and brought to deeper fulfillment. This is the logic of Christ, “who comes to fulfill rather than negate” the truths found in the pagan discoveries about humanity. “Living assimilation is the work of Christianity. Christian humanism is the living positive and creative assimilation of everything that is good and true in all other cultures and epochs.”