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In Licit Magic: The Life and Letters of al-Ṣāḥib b. ʿAbbād (d. 385/995) Maurice A. Pomerantz explores the biography and literary output of a major tenth-century Muslim statesman, literary patron, and intellectual. His nearly two-decade reign as vizier on behalf of two Buyid amirs was an important period for the flowering of Arabic letters, Muʿtazilī theology and Shīʿism in Western Iran. Making use of Ibn ʿAbbād’s large corpus of letters ( rasāʾil), Pomerantz explores the role that eloquence played in the conduct of administration, the maintenance of social networks of elites, and persuasion. Licit Magic argues that the eloquent expression that Ibn ʿAbbād displayed in his letters was central to his exercise of power.
Essays in Honor of Everett K. Rowson
This volume brings together studies that explore the richness of the Arabic literary tradition and of Islamic intellectual life, from the beginnings of Islam to the present. The contributors cover an unusually wide range of subjects, including such topics as guile in the Quran, marriage in Islamic law, early esoterica, commentaries on al-Ḥarīrī’s Maqamāt, Hellenistic philosophy in Arabic, medieval music and song, scurrilous poetry, Arabic rhetoric, cursing, the modern social and legal history of the Middle East, al-Kharrat’s modernist project, and contemporary Islamic thought and responses to it.

The volume’s range reflects the enormous breadth of Everett Rowson’s scholarship and his impact over a lifetime of publishing, editing, teaching, and mentoring in the many fields that constitute the Arabic humanities and Islamic thought.

Contributors: Ali Humayun Akhtar, Thomas Bauer, Hans Hinrich Biesterfeldt, Kevin van Bladel, Marilyn Booth, Michael Cooperson, Kenneth M. Cuno, Geert Jan van Gelder, Hala Halim, Lara Harb, David Hollenberg, Matthew L. Keegan, David Larsen, Joseph E. Lowry, Zainab Mahmood, Jon McGinnis, Jeannie Miller, John Nawas, Bilal Orfali, Alex Popovkin, Dwight F. Reynolds, Susan A. Spectorsky, Tara Stephan, Adam Talib, Sarra Tlili, Shawkat M. Toorawa, James Toth, Mark S. Wagner.
Un traité pratique de magie des lettres attribué à Hermès
Le Kitāb dā’irat al-aḥruf al-abjadiyya est un traité de magie pratique attribué à Hermès. Ce texte composite, qui ne peut être daté avec précision, est un ouvrage de magie basée sur la doctrine de la science des lettres ( ‘ilm al-ḥurūf). Le présent livre offre la première édition critique du texte, accompagnée d’une traduction annotée et d’une étude historique et philologique exposant les principes théoriques à la base des procédés décrits dans les recettes ainsi que des entités, objets et ingrédients utilisés (noms des anges invoqués, types de fumigations et d’encres, dessins et figures, etc.). Il s’agit d’une des premières éditions critiques d’un traité de magie pratique des lettres, genre encore fort méconnu bien qu’abondamment représenté dans les manuscrits arabes.

The Kitāb dā’irat al-aḥruf al-abjadiyya is a composite treatise of letter magic attributed to Hermes. The edition and annotated translation of the Arabic text are accompanied by an explanation of the theoretical principles underlying the procedures described in the recipes, and a discussion of the entities, objects and ingredients used. These include names of the angels to be summoned, types of incenses and inks to be used, sketches and images to be drawn, etc. This is one of the first critical editions and translations of a full-length text of practical magic containing recipes pertaining to ‘ilm al-ḥurūf (the science of letters). The book is addressed to Arabists and to any non-Arabist interested in the tradition of magic.
Two Muʿtazilī kalām texts from the Cairo Geniza
The volume contains critical editions of the extant parts of two hitherto unknown theological works by the Būyid vizier al-Ṣāḥib b. ʿAbbād (d. 385/925), who is well known to have vigorously promoted the teaching of Muʿtazilī theology throughout Būyid territories and beyond. The manuscripts on which the edition is based come from Cairo Geniza store rooms. They consist of two manuscripts for each of the two texts—testimony to the impact of al-Ṣāḥib’s education policy on the contemporaneous Jewish community in Cairo. The longer treatise of al-Ṣāḥib of ca. 350/960, possibly his Kitāb Nahj al-sabīl fī uṣūl al-dīn, appears to be the earliest Muʿtazilī work preserved among the Jewish community. The second, briefer treatise also contains a commentary by ʿAbd al-Jabbār al-Hamadānī (d. 415/1025).