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Book review: In the Eye of the Storm: Middle Eastern Christians in the twenty-first century, edited by Mitri Raheb

AROUND the world there are those, Christians and others, who have long watched and followed events, politics, and religion in the Middle East, particularly Israel and Palestine; and there are those, a far greater number, whose attention is caught only when something tragic, even seismic, happens.

The Revd Dr Mitri Raheb, a Palestinian Arab Christian ordained in the Lutheran tradition, and President of Dar al-Kalima University in Bethlehem, has edited and himself powerfully contributed to a volume of case studies exploring the situation not only of indigenous Christians, but also of those alongside whom they live. It ought to be required reading for anyone seriously wishing to understand the region and its pluralities. None of the authors pleads for Christian exceptionalism, but all write conscious of, and informed by, the various Christian particularities.

What Hamas did on 7 October 2023, and the course that the government of the State of Israel has chosen to implement since then, postdate this collection. Its value lies in presenting granular, scholarly, and at the same time heartfelt accounts, from almost exclusively indigenous contributors, of the societies and cultures within which as Christians they live. Where there is explicit theological reflection it arises contextually and practically from the anthropological and sociological approaches taken by the eight writers.>>Read More