Legal Documents as Sources for the History of Muslim Societies

Studies in Honour of Rudolph Peters


This volume is a tribute to the work of legal and social historian and Arabist Rudolph Peters (University of Amsterdam). Presenting case studies from different periods and areas of the Muslim world, the book examines the use of legal documents for the study of the history of Muslim societies. From examinations of the conceptual status of legal documents to comparative studies of the development of legal formulae and the socio-economic or political historical information documents contain, the aim is to approach legal documents as specialised texts belonging to a specific social domain, while simultaneously connecting them to other historical sources. It discusses the daily functioning of legal institutions, the reflections of regime changes on legal documentation, daily life, and the materiality of legal documents.

Contributors are Maaike van Berkel, Maurits H. van den Boogert, Léon Buskens, Khaled Fahmy, Aharon Layish, Sergio Carro Martín, Brinkley Messick, Toru Miura, Christian Müller, Petra M. Sijpesteijn, Mathieu Tillier, and Amalia Zomeño.

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Maaike van Berkel is professor of Medieval History at Radboud University. Her research focuses on the social and cultural history of medieval Muslim societies, with a particular interest in literacy, court culture and urban organization.

Léon Buskens holds a chair for Law and Culture in Muslim societies at Leiden University and is director of the Netherlands Institute in Morocco. His research focuses on Islamic law and society, and the anthropology of Muslim societies, with a particular interest in Morocco and Indonesia.

Petra Sijpesteijn is professor of Arabic at Leiden University. Her research concentrates on recovering the experience of Muslims and non-Muslims living under Islamic rule, using the vast stores of radically under-used documents surviving from the early Islamic world.
Introduction, Maaike van Berkel, Léon Buskens and Petra M. Sijpesteijn
Notes on Contributors
Bibliography Rudolph Peters
Rudolph Peters and the History of Modern Egyptian Law, Khaled Fahmy

The Qadis’ Justice according to Papyrological Sources (Seventh–Tenth Centuries C.E.), Mathieu Tillier
Delegation of Judicial Power in Abbasid Egypt, Petra M. Sijpesteijn
The Mahdi’s Legal Opinion as an Instrument of Reform: Issues in Divorce, Inheritance, False Accusation of Unlawful Intercourse and Homicide, Aharon Layish

Identifying the ʿudūl in Fifteenth-Century Granada, Sergio Carro Martín and Amalia Zomeño
Crimes without Criminals? Legal Documents on Fourteenth-Century Injury and Homicide Cases from the Ḥaram Collection in Jerusalem, Christian Müller
From Trash to Treasure: Ethnographic Notes on Collecting Legal Documents in Morocco, Léon Buskens
Notes for a Local History of Falsehood, Brinkley Messick

Waqf Documents on the Provision of Water in Mamluk Egypt, Maaike van Berkel
Ottoman amān: Western Ownership of Real Estate and the Politics of Law Prior to the
Land Code of 1876, Maurits H. van den Boogert
A Comparative Study of Contract Documents: Ottoman Syria, Qajar Iran, Central Asia, Qing China and Tokugawa Japan, Toru Miura
Scholars and students of Middle Eastern history and Islamic law of the medieval to the contemporary period. Jurists, anthropologists, sociologists, document specialists, Arabic, Persian and Ottoman philologists and Middle Eastern and North African area specialists.
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