Christian Arab Pilgrimages to Palestine and Mount Sinai
Christian Arabic writings
early modern pilgrimages
religious diversity
forms of piety

Pilgrimage studies to holy sites in early modern Palestine and Egypt have ignored Christian Arabic writings. This paper examines three accounts written by Orthodox and Catholic pilgrims to St. Catherine’s monastery in Sinai and to Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine in the years 1637, 1753, and 1755. It shows the popularity of pilgrimages among Christian Arabs and the interactions they had with the various religious communities in the Ottoman world. The pilgrimage accounts show a thriving Christian Arab culture in the middle of a Muslim empire, and they present the views  and  experiences of pilgrims in their own words – challenging, on numerous occasions, the descriptions of Christian Arabs that appear in contemporaneous European sources.

Author biography: 

Nabil Matar holds the Samuel Russell Chair in the Humanities at the University of Minnesota. His most recent book is The United States through Arab Eyes, 1876–1914 (Edinburgh: UP, 2019). His forthcoming books are Mediterranean Captivity through Arab Eyes, 1517–1798 (Leiden: Brill, 2020), and Luther and the Papacy through Arab Eyes, 1517–1798 (London: Palgrave, 2022).