The Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity (ISIC) is a members-only library which contains an in-depth collection of material on Christian-Muslim relations, Theology and the history of religions. The main aim of the Library is to support academic research in the field of theology in partnership with GILD and OCRPL. It provides, equips and resources academics and those with a particular interest in the Library’s collections.
How to apply for membership:
Membership to the ISIC library includes, access to the online theological resources as well as the online library catalogue. Members are also permitted to visit the library by appointment, when it is open, for the period of their membership. It is a reference only library (no physical items may be borrowed) and scanning facilities are provided.
Enquiries to the library or to receive a membership application form, please contact our librarian at email@example.com.
Once you receive an application form please follow the instruction carefully. After we have received your online registration, and completed from, we will send out your personal membership details.
SCOPE OF THE COLLECTIONS
The ISIC Library’s well stock shelves respects the centuries-old interface between the Christian West and the Islamic World. This unique collection of materials was founded in 1989. The library is a specialist resource, intended for the use of staff as well as visiting clergy, students and other persons engaged in the study of religion.
When the Moscrop Centre, which houses the library, opened its doors in 2012 the collection consisted of 65,000 items. Today we hold over 100,000 items and continue to add more each year.
Four broad areas form the heart of the collection where subject coverage is particularly strong:
- From Muhammad to modern: political, ecclesiastical, social, economic, military relations. Including European and Western relations with Muslims historically.
Martyrdom and Persecution
- Church History from the point-of-view of how Christians have suffered for their faith.
- Philosophy, religion, folklore, social science, political science, political economy and culture of around 180 countries where Christians live.
- Christian theology from the Early Church period up to current books by Church leaders from the Majority world. Islamic theology from the point-of-view of all major Muslim thinkers from Muhammad to the 21st Century; and the theology of other world religions are well represented in the library’s stock.
Alongside the core subject areas there is a wealth of ‘niche’ subjects. The library specialises in current events, history, culture, economics, religion and politics of the Islamic world and beyond. It has especially good collections on Qur’anic studies; terrorism, jihad and fundamentalism; Dhimmitude Studies; Sufism; Women in Islam; the history of Islam; the Crusades; Afghanistan; Pakistan; the Armenian Genocide; the Ottoman Empire; Egypt; Sudan; Nigeria; Muslims in India; the Eastern Church; Biblical studies; Soviet Christianity; minority studies; Evangelical Theology; Missiology and other religions.
The minority studies sections of the library include for example Islam in Bulgaria, Norway, Poland, Russia and Tibet; Christianity in China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan and Judaism in the Arab World pre-1948
All subjects are strongly supported by works of biography and bibliography, the back-runs of over 400 periodicals, and a growing range of electronic databases. The periodicals include many complete runs, such as the Muslim World, the Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, and many others. The major language of the Middle East, Arabic, is represented by a collection of c2000 books on Islamic law, tafsir, history, Sufism and numerous other subjects. Important microform collections include: the Sudan United Mission’s periodical The Lightbearer (1905-1981); the Church Missionary Society’s periodicals CMS Awake (1891-1921), Eastward Ho! (1922-1940), and CMS Outlook (1922-1972); and the Armenian Genocide in the United States National Archives, 1915-1918.
We believe that older works should be kept alongside more recent ones to reveal how a subject has developed or changed over time. For the most part, therefore, old and new titles are housed together in their subject categories and can be borrowed and freely browsed on our open shelving. Many old works are in reprint or facsimile editions.
The library is multi-lingual, with monographs and journals in all major European languages; with over 1000 books in French, German, and Russian; and around half-that in Spanish and Dutch. Other European language books include smaller collections in Bosnian, Armenian, Romanian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Portuguese, Italian and Albanian.
This combination of the collection’s extraordinary range and depth facilitates cross-disciplinary study and makes it constant joy for the reader.
Some 2000 of the library’s oldest, rarest, most valuable and vulnerable items are carefully secured, forming our Special Collections, but remain available for consultation. From the age of manuscript writing over ten centuries ago, to the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the close of the First World War and beyond, the rare books in the ISIC Library provide evidence for all the major events and trends in the story of this Christian-Muslim relations. The library preserves book after book full of travellers’ observations and artists’ images, literary, scholarly and historical influences. In addition to rare printed books, the Library also possesses manuscript and documentary material of very great importance and rarity. All of this is the result of ISIC’s determination to acquire the most important publications for its visiting scholars; they represent a microcosm of the whole collection and include fascinating rarities.
The ISIC library has over 75,000 books arranged into the following broad collections (listed below). The collections are further subdivided into individual shelf-mark sections. You can request a complete list of shelf-marks from the librarian. The classification system is unique to this library; allowing us to easily catalogue Islam and Christian knowledge side-by-side.
Christian-Muslim Relations This extensive collection includes works on individual countries, monarchs, historical encounters between the two religions and topics such as the Crusades, dialogue, evangelism and apologetics. Particular strengths are found in the 1800+ volumes on the Armenian Genocide, over 1000 volumes about Colonial encounter with Islam, over 1800 books on theological relations between Christians and Muslims, sections on al-Andalus (Muslim Spain), modern Western Muslim-minority communities, and on Byzantine-Arab relations. There are very important and unique collections of hard-to-find books on historical and contemporary Christian-Muslim encounters in Africa, Scandinavia, Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, the UK, Australia, Canada, the USA and New Zealand.
History & Church History includes the works of authors writing in many languages. Coverage includes early Church History up to the modern period. There are particular strengths in Christianity in Russian history, in Chinese History, in Japanese history and in Muslim-majority countries (Algeria, Malaysia and Indonesia for example). The subject of the life of Christians in the Ottoman Empire includes sections on Ottoman Greece, Church History in the Balkans, Coptic Christianity, Syriac Christian History, Melkite and Maronite Church History. There are books-a-plenty on the history of over 180 countries. A section of especial interest for any visitor may be the books about Judaism under Islam; recording the history of Jewish communities in North Africa and the Middle East.
Biography & Biographical Collections include the life stories eminent literary figures who have engaged with other faiths: missionaries, Orientalist scholars, Christian martyrs, famous Jews and Muslims, Victorian pioneers, travellers, Christians who have suffered for their faith and famous politicians who have been responsible for Western foreign policies throughout history. There are over 2000 works of biography scattered over the library.
Science. This large collection encompasses all of the library’s holdings on medicine and science. The main part of it includes works on the history of science in the Orient; from the pre-Christian scientists to Arab Muslim scholars to its reception in the West.
Politics. Each country section has ample reading for those interested in the politics of Middle Eastern and Asia countries. There are some 1800 books on the political issue of terrorism and Western responses to this phenomenon. There are books on refugees, religious freedom and human rights within Western countries and within each major world religion.
Theology has a breadth and depth of books on mainly Christian and Muslim theology (theoretical and practical); but also smaller collections on all other religions such as Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Baha’i and smaller belief systems. There are around 8,000 books on Christian beliefs and theology from mainly the evangelical perspective but also including many works on the Early Church Fathers and the Orthodox beliefs of the East and West. Highlights include a collection of the Bible in c.90 different languages; and the Patrologia Orientalis. The Muslim section on theology is around 17,000 books on Qur’anic studies, law, hadith, eschatology, Allah etc; with many major works in Arabic and some in Urdu (al-Suyuti, al-Tabari, al-Qurtubi, al-Ghazali for example).
Topography includes narratives of voyages and expeditions, local studies of specific areas, histories of regions, counties, cities and towns (particularly in Spain). Highlights of the collection include books from the Hakluyt Society; Middle East travel, Central Asian travel, African travel and Asian travel accounts.
Art includes works mainly on Islamic, Buddhist and Christian art on the fine and applied arts including painting, metal-work and architecture. There are also over 500 auction house sale catalogues as well as books on subjects ranging from the illumination of manuscripts to Oriental jewellery.
Bibliography includes printed catalogues of public and private book and manuscript collections as well as bibliographies on diverse subjects such as travel, individual countries and world religions. There is also a small collection on the history of libraries in Islamic countries.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FAQs FOR ALL MEMBERS:
Can anyone become a member of the ISIC Library?
Yes, however you must have a legitimate academic reason (references will be asked for; please see the application form). GILD members and OCRPL students take priority when applications are being processed.
Is there a membership fee?
The library is an independent charity, membership is currently free but if you wish to make a donation please let us know.
How can I apply for membership?
You can request an application form from the library by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be submitted for authorisation and should be processed within three weeks.
Are electronic publications available?
A growing range of electronic reference works, databases and e-journal titles, databases and e-journal titles (including JSTOR) are available both at the Library and online via our secure library catalogue webpage. All electronic articles that are available must not be shared with others and are for personal use only.
Is it possible to consult the Library’s catalogues online?
The catalogue is available for consultation via the website but users must have an authorized log-in to do so.
Is it possible to visit the Library before joining?
Yes; prospective members are always welcome to come to look round the Library and see the facilities. Please ask the librarian at any time that is convenient for you.
How many books does the Library have?
There are approximately 100,000.
Is the Library’s stock scanned and online?
The vast majority of the books are not scanned; a small number of items are available as pdfs to download on our library catalogue and scans are being added weekly. Some eBooks are available via the library catalogue.
What subjects does the Library cover?
The subject range is mainly theological, historical and geo-political. With the main emphasis being on Christian-Muslim relations and Christian persecution.
Can I borrow a book?
No, the library is strictly reference only. Scanning facilities are provided.
Does the Library still acquire new books?
Yes. Members are invited to make suggestions for books to be acquired by the Library. Donations may be accepted but please contact the librarian first.
FAQs FOR VISITING-IN-PERSON MEMBERS:
Does the Library hold periodicals?
The Library maintains current subscriptions to approximately 200 periodicals and also holds extensive collections of nineteenth- and twentieth-century journals and magazines.
Is there Wi-Fi at the Library?
Yes; there is free Wi-Fi across the Library.
Can laptop computers be used at the Library?
Are refreshments available at the Library?
Only bottles of water can be taken into the library. There is a shop nearby for off-site lunch.
Does the Library hold evening events?
Is there anywhere I can park my bike if I cycle to the Library?
I am a member of the library; can I bring a visitor with me?
Members are welcome to introduce prospective members to the Library, or to bring a visitor for a short tour of the Library. For health, safety and security purposes all visitors must sign in at reception and must remain with the member at all times. Please book this with the librarian.