Heyberger, B.: Hindiyya, mystic and criminal…

April 9th, 2013

Heyberger, Bernard, Hindiyya, mystic and criminal (1720 – 1798) A Political and Religious Crisis in Lebanon

Cambridge: James Clarke, 2013

ISBN: 978 0 277 17 38 86

Hindiyya, Mystic and Criminal, 1720-1798
A Political and Religious Crisis in Lebanon

By Bernard Heyberger
Translated by Renée Champion
ISBN: 9780227173886

Even today, when no religious scandal is left unexploited by the media, the story of Hindiyya ‘Ujaymi with its political intrigue and rumours of murder, are shrouded in an aura of mystery.

An extraordinarily pious child, the Maronite girl Hendia attracted the attention of those around her, and soon had a following devoted enough to fund the building of a convent for her. Her rule as mother superior lasted almost twenty-five years but was marred by allegations of persecution and murder. The investigation of such accusations provides great literary material, but the story of Hindiyya is more than just a historical murder mystery. As probably the first woman in the Arab world to have asserted herself as “I”, Hindiyya’s story is one of psychological and social change. Heyberger’s methodological study of his subject allows him to explore the larger picture of the interactions between the Catholic West and the small Christian societies of the Middle East during the turbulent second half of the eighteenth century, which influenced such self-awareness. This richly researched work illuminates not only an important episode of Lebanon’s history that was marked by Papal politics, but also a more confined, but no less politically fraught, monastic world of female prophecy.

With great insight into individual and group mentalities, evident knowledge of religious, spiritual and political sects and orders, and a questioning approach that drives the investigation onwards, Hindiyya, Mystic and Criminal, 1720-1798 is a truly engaging, multi-disciplined work that will appeal to scholars and general readers alike.

About the Author: Bernard Heyberger is a Professor at the Ecole des Hautes etudes en Sciences Socials and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris. At present he is the Director of the Institut d’etude de l’Islam et des Societes du Monde Musulman at the Ecole des Hautes etudes en Sciences Socials. He has lived several times in Syria, Lebanon and Italy and is the author of several publications on the social history of the Eastern Christians in the Ottoman era.

About the publisher: James Clarke and Co Ltd is a long-established British academic publisher specialising in historical and theological books and also in reference material. It has been associated with the Lutterworth Press since 1984.

Submission: Heyberger, Bernard (Author), 9 April 2013

Comments (0)

Comments are closed.