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As paradoxical as it sounds the New Middle East is old but dynamic, constantly in motion as the desert’s moving sands. From Polarization to Cohabitation highlights cases from Middle East dominated by polarized portrayals and permanently fluctuating forces from both past and present, being partially the result of a conference held in Romania, 2019.
The book brings together a global research perspective on the topic starting with James Gelvin on the situation of Religion and Society in the New Middle East, continuing by Marshall Breger’s particular paradigm on Jerusalem. Daniel Seidemann completes Jerusalem’s picture with a current initiative of a database with hundreds of sacred sites. The focus moves to Egypt with the work of Sebastian Elsässer about Samīr Murquṣ. The continuum is assured by Bishara Ebeid and Johan Gärde with case from Lebanon, but also with the captivating perspective of George A. Kiraz on the identity of the Syriac Orthodox community emigrated to US, documented on the basis of archive collections. A current issue is highlighted by Martin Tamcke about the letter of Mor Ignatius Aphrem II to the secretary of World Council of Churches in 2018, in the context of the war in Syria. The volume closes with a chapter by Elizabeth Monier dedicated to the Gulf countries and an insight into bilateral relationships between Ethiopia and Romania by A. Bărbieru. All the papers contribute to a virtual journey into the New Middle East the reader can undertake supported by maps such as Terrestrial Jerusalem’s data-base, The Inglehart-Welzel Cultural Map, and The Confessional Divide of Beirut.