There Is No West without the Near East (Robert Nicholson)

The Near East carries a strange set of connotations in the modern West. On the one hand, it is the origin of our most significant ethical traditions. On the other, it is an area full of political tensions and years of violent conflict. In this episode, Robert Nicholson (Founder and President of Philos Project and CHT Senior Fellow) helps Christians evaluate their attitudes toward the Near East and its importance for Christian history and the faith today. From the perception of Israel, to the various groups of Muslims in the region, to the frequently-persecuted Christian communities, the Near East presents a complicated combination of religious, ethnic, and political identities. Christians have opportunities to pursue peace by advocating pluralistic respect, recognizing the positive developments in the region, and praying.

Robert Nicholson is the Founder and President of Philos Project, an organization that seeks to promote positive Christian engagement in the Near East. He holds an MA in Middle Eastern history and a JD from Syracuse history, and he also co-founded Passages Israel, serves on the board of In Defense of Christians, and teaches at The King’s College. His writings have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal and First Things, and he also hosts the podcast The Deep Map.

Show notes:

  • 2:00 Difficulties engaging with the Near East
  • 4:20 Avoiding negative associations
  • 7:21 The Hebraic origins of the modern world
  • 11:33 Power in the biblical tradition
  • 15:32 “Christian engagement in the Near East”
  • 19:12 Peace and pluralism
  • 24:35 Ethnic and religious tensions
  • 29:13 Jewish as an ethnic, religious, and political identity
  • 32:48 Positive historical trends

For more about one practical way to get involved with the work of Philos Project, check out their 21 Martyrs Pilgrimage Campaign, a fundraising effort to bring the families of the 21 Christian Copts killed in 2015 on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Show notes by Micah Long

Image created by Rubner Durais

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