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In: Islamic Africa

The eighteenth century witnessed a flurry of Islamic scholarly exchange, connecting North and West Africa to the Middle East and even India. The Islamic sciences transmitted through these networks have had lasting resonance in Africa, particularly in chains transmitting Ḥadīth and Sufi affiliations. Academics have been justly skeptical as to the actual content of these often short meetings between scholars, suggesting such meetings tell us little about shared scholarly understandings. Study of unpublished manuscripts detailing the acquisition of “secrets” (asrār), apparently widespread in these eighteenth-century networks, can add new understanding to the affinities between scholarly legacies emerging in the period. This paper considers such questions in relationship to Aḥmad al-Tijānī (d. 1815, Fez), the founder of the Tijāniyya Sufi order prominent in West Africa today.

In: Islamic Africa

Thanks to the work of scholars on both sides of the Atlantic, the orthographic practice known as “ʿajami,” or the writing of non-Arabic languages in Arabic script, is better known today than ever before, expanding alongside scholarly efforts to understand it. This article contributes to this renewed interest by examining the first known commentary on the Qur’an written entirely in Wolofal, or Wolof in modified Arabic script. Contra the prevailing populist spirit of contemporary ʿajami scholarship, it argues that ʿajami texts were not always intended for an audience of non-Arabophones. In the case of Mawridu al-ẓamān fī tafsīr al-qurān, a Wolofal commentary written by the Murid scholar Muhammadu Dem (d. 1965), ʿajami techniques were employed to produce a text explicitly intended for a specialized audience already literate in Arabic. Dem’s commentary therefore qualifies the argument that ʿajami texts necessarily reached non-Arabophone audiences.

In: Islamic Africa

This paper is devoted to geographical knowledge of the world and the definition of homeland and outland among the elite of the early Sokoto Caliphate (ca. 1800–1840). It argues that with the creation of a territorial jihadist state, geography became an important tool within religious and political discourses because in Sokoto warfare was predicated upon a precise mapping of the “Land of Islam” and the “Land of Unbelief”. The circulation of contradictory accounts about landscapes and rivers in the Sahel via medieval Arabic books, traders, pilgrims and soldiers, will receive special attention. The key argument is that written geographical accounts and cartography from Sokoto were not only restricted by the information available for this task, but also by the characteristics of the genres: texts can express uncertainties about concepts of space, in contrast, cartography requires geographical definition and spatial exactitude. This article is thus dedicated to the analysis of content and form of geographical discourses in the early Sokoto State by the comparison of texts and a map.

In: Islamic Africa
In: Islamic Africa
Codex Amrensis 1, the first volume of the series Documenta Coranica contains images and Arabic texts of four sets of fragments (seventy-five sheets) of the Qurʾān codex, once kept in the ʿAmr ibn al-ʿĀṣ Mosque at Al-Fusṭāṭ, and now in the collections of the National Library of Russia, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, The Museum of Islamic Art, Doha and the Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art. It includes an extensive introduction, the facsimile of the original, and the full text with annotations.The manuscript, copied during the first half of the 8th century and written in ḥiǧāzī script, contains diacritical signs for about 20% of the letters, without any signs for short vowels. It varies from today’s reference editions of the Qurʾān in verse numbering and has a different orthography. Essential reading for students and scholars of the history of the Qurʾān and its written transmission.

Le Codex Amrensis 1 rassemble quatre fragments manuscrits, aujourd'hui dispersés dans les collections de la Bibliothèque nationale de France, de la Bibliothèque nationale de Russie, du Musée d'art islamique à Doha et dans la collection de Nasser D. Khalili. Ces fragments appartiennent à un même manuscrit, le Codex Amrensis 1, qui était autrefois conservé dans la mosquée de ʿAmr ibn al-ʿĀṣ à Fusṭāṭ. Ses caractéristiques physiques et textuelles en font un témoin essentiel pour l'histoire du texte coranique et de sa transmission écrite au cours des deux premiers siècles de l'islam. Le présent volume propose aux lecteurs, étudiants et chercheurs, le fac-similé des folios, des annotations concernant son texte ainsi qu'une introduction à l'étude du manuscrit.


Protestants entering Africa in the nineteenth century sought to learn from earlier Jesuit presence in Ethiopia and southern Africa. The nineteenth century was itself a century of missionary scramble for Africa during which the Jesuits encountered their Protestant counterparts as both sought to evangelize the African native. Encounters between Jesuits and Protestants in Africa, edited by Robert Alexander Maryks and Festo Mkenda, S.J., presents critical reflections on the nature of those encounters in southern Africa and in Ethiopia, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Fernando Po. Though largely marked by mutual suspicion and outright competition, the encounters also reveal personal appreciations and support across denominational boundaries and thus manifest salient lessons for ecumenical encounters even in our own time.

This volume is the result of the second Boston College International Symposium on Jesuit Studies held at the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) in 2016. Thanks to generous support of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College, it is available in Open Access.

European and Global Christianity, ca. 1500-1789
Christianity was a global religion prior to the history recounted in European and Global Christianity, ca. 1500 - 1789. There were Christians in Asia and Africa before Europeans arrived in those places as well as in Latin America and North America, by movements of economic and political conquest and migration, and also Christian mission. This volume attests to the intensification of this globalization - in these 'new' continents as well as in Russia and the Ottoman territories. Simultaneously, in Europe Christianity was marked by Reformations, by confessional divisions, and by the Enlightenment. This global religion affected all structures of human life - society, politics, economics, philosophy, art, and the myriad ventures that form civilizations.

Contributors are: Carsten Bach-Nielsen, Alfons Brüning, Mariano Delgado, Andreas Holzem, Thomas Kaufman, Hartmut Lehmann, Bruce Masters, Ronnie Po-chia Hsia, Jan Stievermann and Kevin Ward.

This is part of a three volume work on the history of global Christianity. Volume II and III address the 19th and 20th centuries respectively and will appear in 2018.
This volume presents the main lectures of the 22nd Congress of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament (IOSOT) held in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in September 2016. Sixteen internationally distinguished scholars present their current research on the Hebrew Bible, including the literary history of the Hebrew text, its Greek translation and history of interpretation. Some focus on archeological and iconographic sources and the reconstruction of ancient Israelite religion while others discuss the formation of the biblical text and its impact for cultural memory. The volume gives readers a representative view of the most recent developments in the study of the Old Testament.

The article describes and analyse the paratextual elements (annotations) in Soninke and Manding languages in the manuscripts from modern-day Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and Burkina Faso. It focuses on specific layout of the annotations in relation to the main text, the linking and tagging/labelling techniques applied to connect them to the source text, their linguistic features and other peculiarities.

In: Islamic Africa