Palestinian Christians

Situating selves in a dislocated present 1

Authored by: Mark Daniel Calder

Routledge Handbook of Minorities in the Middle East

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138649040
eBook ISBN: 9781315626031
Adobe ISBN:


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There is clearly no way of doing justice to the diversity of Palestinian Christian experience in a brief primer such as this. In fact, even defining the category of “Palestinian Christian” is more difficult than it appears, with both labels being themselves highly contested even before being placed next to one another. However, it is possible to explore what Palestinian Christians share and what divides them without pursuing a definitive account of their supposed group identity. My approach here, then, is to consider the diverse situations in which Palestinian Christians experience and narrate themselves, attending to commonalities and differences in both. This entails attention to environments broadly understood: the “clusterings” of lives in different places across historic Palestine, each inscribed by stories and meanings that have implications for everyday experience. 2 We will therefore consider in turn Palestinian Christians’ situations in different landscapes, jurisdictions, group relationships (both to one’s own and others), and in relation to powerful circulating narratives, not least those that are distinctively Christian and Palestinian. This is an attempt to sketch a physical and symbolic ecology of Palestinian Christian diversity, their interrelationship with places, materials, others (human and non-human), and countless meanings.

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