Louis Massignon (1883-1962)

Louis Massignon was a renowned French Orientalist and diplomat who was a professor of the Sociology of Islam at the Collège de France in Paris and an expert on Middle Eastern culture and languages. He was a member of numerous international institutions, notably the Academy of Arab Language in Cairo, Egypt.. Massignon was also a spiritual seeker whose depth of Catholic Christian thought led many to call him a mystic and even a saint.

By the end of his life he had completed a fifty year exploration of the life and mystical philosophy of a tenth century Islamic Sufi saint called the Passion of al-Hallaj, published hundreds of articles in many languages, and lectured world-wide. In 1934 he established a prayer group in Cairo with an Egyptian Melkite Christian woman named Mary Kahil dedicated to praying with and for the Muslim community. They also promoted an educational center sponsoring lectures and discussions on Islamic and Christian philosophical and cultural subjects. In a small town in Brittany, France Massignon discovered a Chapel dedicated to seven 2nd century Christian martyrs that is a story found in Eastern Christian traditions and in the Qur'an. With the local Bishop's permission he transformed their ancient traditional July feast day of the Chapelle des Sept Dormants into a shared Muslim/Christian pilgrimage that celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in July 2004.

Louis Massignon's faith experience led him to a deep commitment to social justice that called him to march in the streets of Paris at the age of 75 protesting against the colonial French position during the Algerian struggle for independence in the 1950's. His experience of "crossing over" to those of other faith traditions allowed him to embrace Muslims, Jews and Chrsitians in life-long friendships. He was intensely affected by the non-violent resolution to political and religious disputes by Gandhi in India and remains a prophetic voice today for a viable means to successfully building bridges between faiths and furthering mutual respect and world peace.

Information about The Association of Friends of Louis Massignon

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Books in English by Louis Massignon:

Massignon,L. 1983. The Passion of al-Hallaj: Mystic and Martyr. Translated by H. Mason. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

__________1989. Testimonies and Reflections: Essays of Louis Massignon. Selected and Introduced by H. Mason. Notre Dame, IN.: University of Notre Dame Press.

__________1994. Hallaj: Mystic and Martyr. Translated, edited, and abridged by H. Mason. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

__________ 1994. Essays on the Origins of the Technical Language of Islamic Mysticism. Translated by Benjamin Clark. Notre Dame, IN.: University of Notre Dame Press.

Books in English about Louis Massignon:

Bassetti-Sani, Giulio O.F.M. 1974. trans. A.H.Cutler Louis Massignon: Christian Ecumenist . Chicago,IL: Franciscan Herald Press.

Buck,D.C. 2002. Dialogues With Saints and Mystics: In the Spirit of Louis Massignon. London,New York: Khaniqahi Nimatullahi Publications.

Gude, M.L.1996. Louis Massignon; The Crucible of Compassion. Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press.

Mason, H. 1988. Memoir of a Friend Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press.

Books in French by Louis Massignon:

Massignon, Louis. 1975. (revised from 1922 original edition) La Passion de Hallaj:Martyr Mystique de L'Islam. Paris. Éditions Gallimard.

_______________ 1995. L. Massignon Sur L'Islam. Paris: L'Herne.

_______________1983.Intro. Monteill,V.M.(1st ed. 1962 at the death of Louis Massignon) Parole Donnée. Paris: Edition du Seuil.

_______________1963. Collected texts presented by Moubaraq,Y. Opéra Minora. vol.I,II,lll Liban: Dar Al-Maaref.

_______________1955. Le Dîwân D'Al- Hallâj . Paris: Librairie Orientaliste. Paul Geuthner.

_______________1957. Akhbar Al-Hallaj. Paris: Librairie Philosophique. J.Vrin.

_______________1955. Les Sept Dormants d'Ephese en Islam et en Chretiente. Paris:Librairie Orientaliste. Paul Geuthner.

______________ 1992. Intro. Daniel Massignon. La Crypte Dolmen Des VII Saints Dormants D'Ephese . Extrait des memoires de la Société d'Emulation des Côtes-du-Nord.

Books in French about Louis Massignon:

Destremau, C. and Moncelon, J. 1994. Louis Massignon. Reprinted in 2005 by Éditions Le Capucin.

Keryell, J. 1987. Louis Massignon: L'Hospitalité Sacrée. Paris: Nouvelle Cité.

Laude, P. 2001. Massignon Intérieur. Lausanne: L'Age d'Homme.

Massignon, D. 1988. Le Voyage en Mesopotamie et La Conversion de Louis Massignon. Roma: Islamochristiana vol.14.