Arab Christianity

David Thomas

The history of Christianity among the Arabs is long and distinctive, stretching from within a few centuries from the time of Christ to the present, and developing its own character and forms of thought. For much of its history it has been bound up with Islam and, as far as can be seen, has employed Arabic as its main language of worship and teaching. This has meant it has remained separate from other parts of the Church for long periods, and that its writings have been largely unknown to most Christians outside.

The term 'Arab Christianity' is not easy to define with precision. It can be taken in broad terms as a definition of Christians who worship and teach their faith in Arabic, though this can include Syrian and Coptic Christians who have adopted Arabic as their everyday language. Here it will be taken in relatively general terms to designate Christians who lived in the Arabian peninsula and along the eastern frontiers of the Roman world, and later the Christians who have lived in the Arab heartlands and have continued to the present to confess their faith under Islamic rule.

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