Maurice Borrmans (1925-2017), Missionary of Africa, dedicated much of his life to the study of Arabic and Islamic sciences, with a particular interest in Islamic law. From 1964 to 2004 he taught at the PISAI, for which he was director and founder of the journal Islamochristiana, written in English, French and Arabic, from the year of its foundation, 1975, until 2004.
His collection includes almost 1000 titles ranging from a rich personal bibliography (published in ISCH 31/2005 [1956-2004], and in ISCH 43/2017 [2005-2017]), to others of great interest for interreligious dialogue and knowledge of Islam. In addition to works on Islamic philosophy, law, spirituality and Sufism, texts on geopolitics and sociology of religions, a large part of the collection concerns the witnesses and operators of the Muslim-Christian dialogue: Charles de Foucauld, Louis Massignon, Andrea Santoro, Pietro Rossano and others; many texts are dedicated to the spirituality of religions, with particular attention to prayer, mysticism and sacred texts. A section of the collection includes Koranic and biblical texts, with various translations and commentaries, studies of linguistics and literature, and Arabic grammars.
Maurice Borrmans always considered the PISAI his second home, living and working there for many years and collaborating tirelessly until the end. In recognition of his commitment and as a sign of affection for him, the PISAI library was dedicated to his memory on February 17, 2018.
The Lelio and Leslie Basso Foundation came into being in Rome in 1973, the result of the amalgamation of the rich private library of Lelio Basso, a collection brought together during the time of his political and cultural activities, and the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Society created in the second half of the 1960s. The collection specializes in the study of historical, juridical, political and sociological sciences, with particular attention being given to the sources.
The collection contains books and periodicals in Arabic concerning the history of modern and contemporary political thought and that of the migrations of peoples, especially in the North African region.
The collection contains some 500 titles of great interest for orientalist and ethnographic research regarding the situation in Africa during the colonial period, especially in Libya and Ethiopia; it deals with the direct personal reports of the researcher whose field of interest lay in the traditions and customs of the region, as well as the anthropology and the cultural and religious development of the colonial and post-colonial period. The collection is also enhanced with numerous extracts from articles, documents and correspondence as well as manuscripts of this scholarly researcher.
The collection, containing more than 200 most useful books for the study of Arabic literature and the history of religions, was given to PISAI by the two brothers of Prof. Sameh Faragalla, Sarwat and Michel.
Of Egyptian origin, Professor Sameh Faragalla, lecturer in Arabic at La Sapienza University in Rome, taught at PISAI from 1979 to 2009, devoting himself to presenting and analysing the Arabic language press and to the study of recorded texts used by the Institute as a valid teaching tool. The academic and educative guidance he gave and the quality of his presence were greatly appreciated by the students of PISAI.
The Horsten Collection reflects the research and the areas of interest of Fr. Piet Horsten. A member of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa, Piet Horsten (1936-2018) has been a member of the teaching staff of PISAI and has held the office of Chief Librarian.
After completing his studies for the priesthood, Piet Horsten studied Ancient Greek and Latin at the University of Nijmegen, enriching this classical base with general notions of linguistics and a theological approach to cultures and religions, and he obtained a doctorate from the SOAS University of London in 1978 with a search in linguistic anthropology. His studies led him to develop a deeper interest in translation, especially the translation of the Bible from Greek into Latin and subsequently to a broader study of the relation between religions and languages.