Conscious of a complex and ambiguous character of the concept of collective identity, the author utilizes it in reference to the Maronite community in Lebanon, which constitutes the dominating part of internally diversified Lebanese Christianity. Political, religious and financial Maronite elites played significant and often decisive role in shaping contemporary Lebanese 'imagined community' and modern nation-state in Lebanon. The situation of such a political and symbolic impact of Christians on the concept of state in the Middle East is quite unique when compared with other Arab countries. The Maronite collective identity was built on the assumption that the group is capable of functioning as a link between the West and the Middle East. The article provides examples of an interaction between Maronites' Westernized consciousness and mostly Islamic and linguistically Arabic environment, such as questions of Maronite historiography, Phoenicianism as a Mediterranean component of collective identity, conception of consensus and National Pact as main pillars of the modern independent Lebanon, etc.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.