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Edited by Samantha Kelly

A Companion to Medieval Ethiopia and Eritrea introduces readers to current research on major topics in the history and cultures of the Ethiopian-Eritrean region from the seventh century to the mid-sixteenth, with insights into foundational late-antique developments where appropriate. Multiconfessional in scope, it includes in its purview both the Christian kingdom and the Islamic and local-religious societies that have attracted increasing attention in recent decades, tracing their internal features, interrelations, and imbrication in broader networks stretching from Egypt and Yemen to Europe and India. Utilizing diverse source types and methodologies, its fifteen essays offer an up-to-date overview of the subject for students and nonspecialists, and are rich in material for researchers.
Contributors are Alessandro Bausi, Claire Bosc-Tiessé, Antonella Brita, Amélie Chekroun, Marie-Laure Derat, Deresse Ayenachew, François-Xavier Fauvelle, Emmanuel Fritsch, Alessandro Gori, Habtemichael Kidane, Margaux Herman, Bertrand Hirsch, Samantha Kelly, Gianfrancesco Lusini, Denis Nosnitsin, and Anaïs Wion.

The Gospel According to Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898)

An Annotated Translation of Tabyīn al-kalām (Part 3)

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Christian W. Troll, Charles M. Ramsey and Mahboob Basharat Mughal

The Gospel According to Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898) offers an annotated translation of Tabyīn al-kalām (Part 3), a commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew (Chapters 1-5) by one of South Asia’s most innovative public thinkers. Broadly known for his modernist interpretation of Islam, Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898) appears here as a contemplative mystic who is determined to show the interrelated nature of the Bible and Qur’ān, and the affinity of Christian and Muslim scriptural exegesis.

Uncommon in the history of Christian-Muslim relations, Sayyid Ahmad Khan presents what can only be described as a serious reading of the Gospel. The work includes an extensive introduction to the early Church in general, and the development of the Trinitarian doctrine in particular. Never before presented in English, the text sheds important new light upon the spiritual and intellectual journey of this leading modern interpreter.

Adab and Modernity

A “civilising process” ? (sixteenth-twenty-first century)

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Edited by Cathérine Mayeur-Jaouen

Adab is a concept situated at the heart of Arabic and Islamic civilization. Adab is etiquette, ethics, and literature. It is also a creative synthesis, a relationship within a configuration. What became of it, towards modernity ? The question of the "civilising process" (Norbert Elias) helps us reflect on this story. During the modern period, maintaining one's identity while entering into what was termed "civilisation" ( al-tamaddun) soon became a leitmotiv. A debate on what was or what should be culture, ethics, and norms in Middle Eastern societies accompanied this evolution. The resilient notion of adab has been in competition with the Salafist focus on mores ( akhlāq). Still, humanism, poetry, and transgression are constants in the history of adab. Contributors: Francesca Bellino, Elisabetta Benigni, Michel Boivin, Olivier Bouquet, Francesco Chiabotti, Stéphane Dudoignon, Anne-Laure Dupont, Stephan Guth, Albrecht Hofheinz, Katharina Ivanyi, Felix Konrad, Corinne Lefevre, Cathérine Mayeur-Jaouen, Astrid Meier, Nabil Mouline, Samuela Pagani, Luca Patrizi, Stefan Reichmuth, Iris Seri-Hersch, Chantal Verdeil, Anne-Sophie Vivier-Muresan.

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Edited by Stefan Winter and Mafalda Ade

Aleppo and its Hinterland in the Ottoman Period is a collection of eleven essays in English and French by leading scholars of Ottoman Syria, drawing on new research in Turkish, Levantine and other archival sources. Focusing on both the city and its place in the wider region, the collection examines trade guilds and Christian settlement in Aleppo, Turkmen and Bedouin tribes in Aleppo’s interior, international trade and the establishment of an Ottoman commercial tribunal in the Tanzimat period, Aleppo and the rise of the millet system, the Belgian consular presence, Sufi networks in the province of Aleppo, the countryside of Antioch under the Egyptian occupation, and the urban revolt of 1850.

With contributions from Enver Çakar, Elyse Semerdjian, Charles Wilkins, Stefan Winter, Mary Momdjian, Bruce Masters, Sylvain Cornac, Mafalda Ade, Feras Krimsti, Nicolas Jodoin, Stefan Knost.

Essay on Islamization

Changes in Religious Practice in Muslim Societies

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Mohamed Cherkaoui

Essay on Islamization is a study of the Islamization of all Muslim societies, their conversion to orthodox Islam which, with its chapels, soldier monks and holy war, leads to fundamentalism as well as to a moral puritanism. Cherkaoui gauges the importance of this global phenomenon by analyzing the empirical data of some sixty Muslim and non-Muslim societies. He also conducts two ethnographic surveys to identify the metamorphoses of Muslim religious practices and their causes.

Among the dozen theories put forward to explain these planetary phenomena, he cites those of secularization, modernization, the religious market, the influence of the media and the policy of donors of unlimited financial resources, social mobility, geopolitical causes, the emergence of fundamentalism and the role of "proletarian" intellectuals who promote Messianism, and social pressure.

Takfīr im militanten Salafismus

Der Staat als Feind

Justyna Nedza

With this work, Justyna Nedza presents the first comprehensive analysis of the theologically charged legal practice of “declaring someone an unbeliever” ( takfir) in militant Salafist thought. Her investigation zooms in on the role of takfir in the formal legitimization of militant jihad against government institutions. Investigating both the Egyptian and Saudi Arabian case, Nedza demonstrates the importance of the regional context in shaping consistent legal arguments for the legitimacy of takfir of collectives. The careful analysis of the arguments of four selected militant Salafist authors brings out that this contextuality plays also a decisive role for the respective textual references, as well as shaping the conclusions drawn by the Egyptian and Saudi Arabian authors, respectively.

In dieser Arbeit präsentiert Justyna Nedza die erste umfassende Analyse der theologisch aufgeladenen Rechtspraxis des „Apostasievorwurfs“ ( takfīr) im Milieu des militanten „Salafismus“. Dabei liegt ein besonderer Fokus auf der rechtlichen Begründung von gewaltsamen Widerstand ( ǧihād) gegen staatliche Organe in muslimischen Mehrheitsgesellschaften, sowie die hiermit verbundene Ausweitung dieses Rechtsmittels vom Individuum auf Kollektive. Anhand der komparatistischen Untersuchung der Schriften von vier ausgewählten Autoren aus Ägypten und Saudi-Arabien zeigt Nedza, dass deren divergenter nationaler Kontext eine entscheidende Rolle sowohl für ihre jeweiligen textlichen Referenzrahmen als auch ihre entsprechenden Schlussfolgerungen spielt. Damit wird die bisher weithin akzeptierte These vom “Salafismus” als global einheitlichem Phänomen auf den Prüfstand gehoben.

Ibn Taymiyya on Reason and Revelation

A Study of Darʾ taʿāruḍ al-ʿaql wa-l-naql

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Carl Sharif El-Tobgui

In Ibn Taymiyya on Reason and Revelation, Carl Sharif El-Tobgui offers the first comprehensive study of Ibn Taymiyya’s ten-volume magnum opus, Darʾ taʿāruḍ al-ʿaql wa-l-naql. In his colossal riposte to the Muslim philosophers and rationalist theologians, the towering Ḥanbalī polymath rejects the call to prioritize reason over revelation in cases of alleged conflict, interrogating instead the very conception of rationality that classical Muslims had inherited from the Greeks. In its place, he endeavors to articulate a reconstituted “pure reason” both truly universal and in full harmony with authentic revelation. Based on a line-by-line reading of the entire Darʾ taʿāruḍ, El-Tobgui’s study carefully elucidates the “philosophy of Ibn Taymiyya” as it emerges from the multifaceted ontological, epistemological, and linguistic reforms Ibn Taymiyya carries out.

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Etan Kohlberg

Edited by Amin Ehteshami

In Praise of the Few: Studies in Shiʿi Thought and History is a selection of Etan Kohlberg’s research on Shiʿi Islam over a period of fifty years. It includes previously published articles, revised dissertation chapters, and a full bibliography of the author’s work. Divided into two parts, the collection begins with chapters from Kohlberg’s Oxford doctoral dissertation (1971) and related articles that investigate Sunni and Shiʿi views on the Prophet’s Companions and debates concerning the extent of their authority as sources of religious knowledge. Part Two traces the doctrinal and historical developments pertaining to various dimensions of Imāmī Shiʿi intellectual tradition such as theology, hadith, law, jurisprudence, and exegesis.

The Inimitable Qurʾān

Some Problems in English Translations of the Qurʾān with Reference to Rhetorical Features

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Khalid Yahya Blankinship

In The Inimitable Qurʾān: Some Problems in English Translations of the Qurʾān with Reference to Rhetorical Features, Khalid Yahya Blankinship examines certain Arabic rhetorical features of the Qurʾān as represented in seven English translations. The author addresses the intersection of two important topics in Qurʾānic studies: the critique of the available English translations and the role of rhetoric in the interpretation of the Qurʾān. He identifies a number of figures characteristic of Qurʾanic style which represent some of the chief stumbling blocks for readers who are used to English in attempting to understand, interpret, and appreciate the text. The book should be useful to all those interested in rhetorical and translation studies and theory as well as Islamic studies.

Le ministère sacerdotal dans la tradition syriaque primitive

Aphraate, Ephrem, Jacques de Saroug et Narsaï

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Tanios Bou Mansour

Dans Le ministère sacerdotal dans la tradition syriaque primitive, Tanios Bou Mansour présente une analyse du sacerdoce chrétien chez quatre auteurs syriaques, Aphraate, Éphrem, Jacques et Narsaï, en l’éclairant par le sacerdoce du Christ et en le plaçant dans la continuité du sacerdoce de l’Ancien Testament. L’originalité et l’actualité de nos auteurs résident dans leur conception de l’élection, de la succession apostolique, de traits “sacerdotaux” attribués aux femmes dans la Bible, et surtout du prêtre qui, mandaté par l’Eglise, exécute l’action du Christ et de l’Esprit.

In Le ministère sacerdotal dans la tradition syriaque primitive, Tanios Bou Mansour analyzes the Christian priesthood in four Syriac writers: Aphraate, Ephrem, Jacob of Sarug and Narsaï. Their conception of priesthood is illuminated by the Priesthood of Christ and contextualized within the continuity of the priesthood of the Old Testament. These authors’ originality and actuality lies in their conception of election, of apostolic succession, of “sacerdotal” traits attributed to women in the Bible, and especially of the priest who, commissioned by the Church, executes the action of the Christ and the Spirit.