A tribute to Bruno Etienne

Hommage au Professeur Bruno Etienne

L'équipe de World Religion Watch publie enfin ce long hommage d'un ancien étudiant au professeur Bruno Etienne, et remercie chaleureusement son auteur pour cette belle contribution.

Je fus bouleversé lorsque je reçus la nouvelle de la disparition du Professeur Bruno Etienne, un de mes maîtres inspirateurs et formateurs. Le « Grand Maestro » - ainsi l'appelions nous affectueusement parmi ses étudiants - s'était éteint. Sur le moment, cela me sembla presque impossible: qu'un homme que j'avais connu si grand, si vivant, si charismatique puisse succomber à la mort. Cette triste nouvelle est venue alors même que je travaille sur une thèse doctorale qui est le fruit de la longue aventure dans laquelle le maître m'avait lancé. Cette aventure m'a emmené jusqu'aux lointaines rives de l'île de Java, jusque dans les bras de ces Javanais que j'aime tant, pour étudier leur riche culture mystique - l'expression Javanaise de la « quadrature du cercle », pour reprendre une expression chère au maître...

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Homage to Professor Bruno Etienne

World Religion Watch's editorial team is finally posting here a vibrant homage to Bruno Etienne written by a former student. Our warm thanks are due to Florent Giehrmann for this long text.

I was struck with grief when I received the news of the passing of Professor Bruno Etienne, one of my inspirational and formative Masters. The ‘Grand Maestro', as his students affectionately called him, was no longer of this world. This seemed almost impossible to me: that a man I had known so grand, so charismatic, so vivacious, could succumb to death. I received this sad news even as I work to complete the doctoral thesis that is the fruit of the long adventure upon which the Maestro had launched me. This adventure brought me to the far shores of the Island of Java, into the arms of my beloved Javanese, to study their rich mystical culture - the Javanese expression of the ‘squaring of the circle', to quote one of the Professor's favourite expressions.

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Bruno Etienne, a "Provocative" Scholar and a Visionary (French original version)

autographIl en a laissé, des ouvrages de qualité ! Mais Bruno Etienne reste un nom relativement méconnu parmi le grand public maghrébin et français. Il a pourtant joué un rôle essentiel, ces vingt dernières années en France, pour une meilleure connaissance du monde de l'islam et, plus globalement, pour une plus juste approche du « monde » des religions.

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Bruno Etienne, a "Provocative" Scholar and a Visionary

autographWhat a legacy! Even if Bruno Etienne has remained more or less unknown to the average French and Maghrebin man in the street, he left dozens of excellent books. He was a man who had played an essential role in society, over the last twenty years, bridge-building and fence-mending for a better understanding of the world of Islam and, more generally, in militantly secular France, for a more enlightened approach to the "universe" of religious issues and studies.

 

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Bruno Etienne, a Watcher and an Awakener (original French version)

Lors du dernier cheminement que nous avons fait à ses côtés, vendredi, à Aix, dans le vent et le froid, la communauté pneumatique a pris corps autour de Son corps, nourri de Lui, et créant ainsi le cercle de l'énérgie qu'ancun frottement ne peut freiner, altérer, brimer. Vendredi, nous étions tous des étendards accrochés au pilier de Sa pensée libre.Continuons à insuffler.

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Bruno Etienne, A Watcher and an Awakener

bruno_parle_debout

...On the last leg of the journey we accomplished by your side, on Friday, at Aix-en-Provence, under an icy Mistral's blast, the spiritual community was incorporated around his body, nurtured by him, thus creating that circularity of energy which no amount of friction can hold back, denature, or subdue. On Friday, we were all banners of victory in the wind nailed to the mast of his free thought. May the same breath continue to blow in and through us and beyond this day.

Maryse Joissains, our mayor, asked me to be her spokesman on that day and to evoke the link which united her to Bruno Etienne, as she had been unable to be present and do so in person.

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Bruno Etienne, A Watcher and an Awakener


bruno_parle_debout...On the last leg of the journey we accomplished by your side, on Friday, at Aix-en-Provence, under an icy Mistral's blast, the spiritual community was incorporated around his body, nurtured by him, thus creating that circularity of energy which no amount of friction can hold back, denature, or subdue. On Friday, we were all banners of victory in the wind nailed to the mast of his free thought. May the same breath continue to blow in and through us and beyond.

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Bruno ETIENNE, Prickly issues about Islam

Book review, Bruno Etienne, Islam, les questions qui fâchent, Paris, Bayard, 2004. 178 p.

questionsIn this short but very moving essay, Bruno Etienne emphasizes some (in fact, many) frequent questions concerning Islam in France, Europe and the world. In his struggle against the facile path of invoking the “Clash of civilisations”, opposing the West and the Arabs (notably because the issue is intra-national, more often than not) and what is more, the West to Islam – with references to the famous “Axis of Evil” predicated by the Bush administration – the author chooses to take the path of analysis.

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Bruno Étienne, more than a “Split Pomegranate”, an “Unpinned Hand-Grenade”

pomegranate‘One must bite into this fruit lustily, allowing the juice to run down over one's lips, eagerly chewing the grains one by one, to fully savour this “Split Pomegranate”’ [1]… Such was the main gist of the brief notice I penned at the time of the initial publication (1999) of Bruno Étienne’s intellectual autobiography. He had opted for this title in homage to the great nineteenth century Provencal poet Théodore Aubanel.

Since then, I have had the great good fortune to get to know Bruno Étienne and realise that this half-open (split) pomegranate was indeed an unpinned hand-grenade!

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Upsetting the Intellectual Apple Cart - Sciences Po Aix and Political Research on Islam mark a day of Mourning

Bruno Etienne passed away on March 4, 2009, after a bitter, lion-hearted struggle against illness.

With his demise, a whole page, one that relates the heroic beginnings of the academic study of Islam in France, and more precisely, of political analysis applied to religious issues, has been turned.

A pioneer of Political Science on Islam has left us, and simultaneously, a flamboyant and iconoclastic Professor has bowed out.

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