Al-Suyūṭī, a Polymath of the Mamlūk Period

Proceedings of the themed day of the First Conference of the School of Mamlūk Studies (Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, June 23, 2014)


This volume is a collection of several papers devoted to Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyūṭī (d. 911/1505), presented on the First Conference of the School of Mamlūk Studies (held at Ca’ Foscari University,Venice, from June 23 to June 25, 2014). It aims to contribute to a reassessment of the scholarly profile of the controversial but fascinating polymath and intellectual, and, more generally, to a deeper understanding of the cultural, political and academic life of the last period of the Mamlūk empire. Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyūṭī's bibliography ranges from law to theology, and from linguistics to history. It includes medicine and geography. This polymath felt that his mission was to preserve the rich cultural heritage of the past, and knowledge in general, from widespread ignorance and decline. Considered for a long time to be an author devoid of any originality and a “simple” compiler, he was in fact an excellent teacher and a rigorous scholar who had a meticulous and accurate working method. With contributions by: Christopher D. Bahl; Mustafa Banister; Joel Blecher; S. R. Burge; Daniela Rodica Firanescu; Éric Geoffroy; Antonella Ghersetti; Francesco Grande; Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila; Takao Ito; Judith Kindinger; Christian Mauder; Aaron Spevack.

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Antonella Ghersetti, Ph.D. (Florence, 1998) is Associate Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. She authored a series of articles and edited monographs on pre-modern Arabic literature and culture. She also translated Arabic texts.
"A book containing such a plethora of diversified and wide ranging perspectives to polymath al-Suyuti is more than a tribute to his work. It addresses readers interested in linguistics, theologians, students of history and literature, all those who read travelling, who read in summer and winter, who read on Earth and in heaven, those who read with angels." - Stavros Nikolaidis, in: Journal of Oriental and African Studies 27 (2018)
Antonella Ghersetti (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice), Introduction
Geoffroy, Éric (University of Strasbourg), Al-Suyūṭī as a Sufi
Spevack, Aaron (Colgate University), Al-Suyūṭī, the intolerant ecumenist: law and theology in Taʾyīd al-ḥaqīqa al-ʿāliya wa-tashyīd al-ṭarīqah al-Shādhiliyya
Ito, Takao (Kobe University), Al-Suyūṭī and problems of the waqf
Kindinger, Judith (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Bidʿa or sunna: the ṭaylasān as a contested garment in the Mamlūk period (discussions between al-Suyūṭī and others)
Mauder, Christian (University of Göttingen), Al-Suyūṭī’s stance toward worldly power: a reexamination based on unpublished and understudied sources
Banister, Mustafa (University of Toronto), Casting the caliph in a cosmic role: examining al-Suyūṭī’s historical vision
Bahl, Christopher D. (SOAS, University of London), Preservation through elaboration: the historicisation of the Abyssinians in al-Suyūṭī’s Rafʿ shaʾn al-Ḥubshān
Burge, Stephen R. (Institute of Ismaili Studies, London), Evidence of self-editing in al-Suyūṭī’s Taḥbīr and Itqān: a comparison of his chapters on Asbāb al-nuzūl
Blecher, Joel (The George Washington University), “Usefulness without toil”: al-Suyūṭī and the art of concise ḥadīth commentary
Grande, Francesco (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice), History, comparativism and morphology: al-Suyūṭī and modern historical linguistics
Hämeen-Anttila, Jaakko (University of Edinburgh), Al-Suyūṭī and erotic literature
Firanescu, Daniela Rodica (Dalhousie University, Halifax), Revisiting love and coquetry in Medieval Arabic Islam: al-Suyūṭī’s perspective

Index of names
Index of titles
Arabists, Islamists, historians of the Middle East, historians of religions, philologists and everyone interested in the pre-modern Arab world and civilization.
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