Archbishop of Madrid (Spain) and Grand Chancellor of the San Dámaso Ecclesiastical University (UESD), Carlos Cardinal Osoro Sierra, has appointed Mrs. Pilar González Casado as Professor of Christian Arabic Literature. It is the first chair of its kind worldwide. Through this appointment, UESD fills a gap in a Spanish and European academic field in which Arab studies are centered, almost exclusively, on Islamic literature composed in Arabic.
«The objective of this chair is to investigate and publicize the literary production of Middle Eastern Christians who originally used other languages of the Christian East – Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopian, Georgian and Armenian – to express their faith and that, After the arrival of Islam, they became Arabized, beginning in the 8th century and continuing to this day, it is considered that their Golden Age was developed between the 9th and 13th centuries» explains Mrs. González Casado.
Although in different study centers and Universities there are more researchers dedicated to this field, their research is not reflected in teaching. Most of them teach Islamic literature while their research is devoted to Christian Arab literature. The UESD is the only university where these two aspects converge – research and teaching – since Christian Arabic literature is taught as a subject.
The importance of Christian Arab literature «remains in the fact that it is the literary production that reflects the first responses of the Christian faith to the challenge that the arrival of Islam posed for its identity.» Christian authors reworked Christian thought in Arabic to expose the foundations of Christian doctrine is the first testimony of how Christian thought, focused on the dogmas of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the person of Jesus Christ and the revealed Word, faced the questioning that Islam made of them”, says Mrs. González Casado.
Currently, González Casado teaches at Classical San Justino Faculty of Christian Literature and belonging to the UESD. She teaches subjects such as Arabic language, Syriac language, reading Arabic texts and Christian Arabic literature. «As a Christian teacher and researcher, teaching in an ecclesiastical university has allowed me to join my profession to my personal vocation, which is nothing other than spreading the Truth revealed in Jesus Christ, and I can put my academic research at the service of the Catholic Church,» states the new professor at the UESD.
Pilar González Casado was born in Madrid (Spain) in 1964, is married, mother of three and the grandmother of two. She has a degree in Arabic Philology and Islam from the Autonomous University of Madrid (1987), PhD in Arabic Philology from the Complutense University of Madrid (2000) where she followed the doctorate courses at the University Institute of Religious Sciences. Later, at San Justino Institute she learned Syriac and Coptic languages.
Since 1992 she teaches Arabic and Syriac in San Justino. In 2010, when the institute had already been erected in the Faculty, she also began to teach Christian Arabic Literature in Master courses, although the provision of the Chair was later. Both her publications and research work are aimed at two areas: Christian Arab literature and Christian apocryphal literature.
UESD: Catholic university education open to the world
San Damaso University promotes Christian humanism through the evangelization of culture at the service of society. Under its motto Veritatis Verbum communicantes (Transmitters of the Verb of Truth), the University carries out a task of formation of aspirants to the priesthood and other forms of consecrated life, but it is also open to lay people who wish to deepen scientifically and rigorously in the Catholic faith.
UESD has four Faculties –theology, Philosophy, Classic and Christian literature and Canon Law-and the Highest Institute of Religious Sciences. Over 2,000 pupils of 50 nationalities were enrolled in the UESD at various stages of the course.
All their university degrees have civil and ecclesiastical recognition and in their facilities is possible to study degrees, postgraduate and doctorates.