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Author: Farabi Fakih
In the nineteenth century a new type of mystic emerged in Catholic Europe. While cases of stigmatisation had been reported since the thirteenth century, this era witnessed the development of the ‘stigmatic’: young women who attracted widespread interest thanks to the appearance of physical stigmata. To understand the popularity of these stigmatics we need to regard them as the ‘saints’ and religious ‘celebrities’ of their time. With their ‘miraculous’ bodies, they fit contemporary popular ideas (if not necessarily those of the Church) of what sanctity was. As knowledge about them spread via modern media and their fame became marketable, they developed into religious ‘celebrities’.
A Microhistorical Study of the Neo-Assyrian Healer Kiṣir-Aššur
In Medicine in Ancient Assur Troels Pank Arbøll offers a microhistorical study of a single exorcist named Kiṣir-Aššur who practiced medical and magical healing in the ancient city of Assur (modern northern Iraq) in the 7th century BCE. The book provides the first detailed analysis of a healer’s education and practice in ancient Mesopotamia based on at least 73 texts assigned to specific stages of his career. By drawing on a microhistorical framework, the study aims at significantly improving our understanding of the functional aspects of texts in their specialist environment. Furthermore, the work situates Kiṣir-Aššur as one of the earliest healers in world history for whom we have such details pertaining to his career originating from his own time.
Zoutleeuw's Church of Saint Leonard and Religious Material Culture in the Low Countries (c. 1450-1620)
The Matter of Piety provides the first in-depth study of Zoutleeuw’s exceptionally well-preserved pilgrimage church in a comparative perspective, and revaluates religious art and material culture in Netherlandish piety from the late Middle Ages through the crisis of iconoclasm and the Reformation to Catholic restoration. Analyzing the changing functions, outlooks, and meanings of devotional objects – monumental sacrament houses, cult statues and altarpieces, and small votive offerings or relics – Ruben Suykerbuyk revises dominant narratives about Catholic culture and patronage in the Low Countries. Rather than being a paralyzing force, the Reformation incited engaged counterinitiatives, and the vitality of late medieval devotion served as the fertile ground from which the Counter-Reformation organically grew under Protestant impulses.
Breaching the Bronze Wall deals with the idea that the word of honorable Muslims constituted proof and with the concept that written documents and the word of non-Muslims were inferior. Foreign merchants in cities like Istanbul, Damascus or Alexandria could barely prove any claim, as neither their contracts nor their words were of any value if countered by Muslims. Francisco Apellániz explores how both groups labored to overcome these ‘biases against non-Muslims’ in the courts and markets of Mamluk Egypt and Syria of the 14th and 15th centuries, and how the Ottoman conquest (1517) imposed a new, orthodox view on the problem. The book dives into the Middle Eastern archive and the Ottoman Dīvān, and scrutinizes the intricacies of sharia and the handling of these intracacies by consuls, dragomans, qaḍīs and other legal actors.
From the early phases of modern missions, Christian missionaries supported many humanitarian activities, mostly framed as subservient to the preaching of Christianity. This anthology contributes to a historically grounded understanding of the complex relationship between Christian missions and the roots of humanitarianism and its contemporary uses in a Middle Eastern context. Contributions focus on ideologies, rhetoric, and practices of missionaries and their apostolates towards humanitarianism, from the mid-19th century Middle East crises, examining different missionaries, their society’s worldview and their networks in various areas of the Middle East. In the early 20th century Christian missions increasingly paid more attention to organisation and bureaucratisation (‘rationalisation’), and media became more important to their work. The volume analyses how non-missionaries took over, to a certain extent, the aims and organisations of the missionaries as to humanitarianism. It seeks to discover and retrace such ‘entangled histories’ for the first time in an integral perspective.

Contributors include: Beth Baron, Philippe Bourmaud, Seija Jalagin, Nazan Maksudyan, Michael Marten, Heleen (L.) Murre-van den Berg, Inger Marie Okkenhaug, Idir Ouahes, Maria Chiara Rioli, Karène Sanchez Summerer, Bertrand Taithe, and Chantal Verdeil
A Companion to Geoffrey of Monmouth brings together scholars from a range of disciplines to provide an updated scholarly introduction to all aspects of his work. Arguably the most influential secular writer of medieval Britain, Geoffrey (d. 1154) popularized Arthurian literature and left an indelible mark on European romance, history, and genealogy. Despite this outsized influence, Geoffrey’s own life, background, and motivations are little understood. The volume situates his life and works within their immediate historical context, and frames them within current critical discussion across the humanities. By necessity, this volume concentrates primarily on Geoffrey’s own life and times, with the reception of his works covered by a series of short encyclopaedic overviews, organized by language, that serve as guides to further reading.

Contributors are Jean Blacker, Elizabeth Bryan, Thomas H. Crofts, Siân Echard, Fabrizio De Falco, Michael Faletra, Ben Guy, Santiago Gutiérrez Garcia, Nahir I. Otaño Gracia, Paloma Gracia, Georgia Henley, David F. Johnson, Owain Wyn Jones, Maud Burnett McInerney, Françoise Le Saux, Barry Lewis, Coral Lumbley, Simon Meecham-Jones, Paul Russell, Victoria Shirley, Joshua Byron Smith, Jaakko Tahkokallio, Hélène Tétrel, Rebecca Thomas, Fiona Tolhurst.
A Parallel Sanskrit-English Critical Edition of Balabhadra’s Hāyanaratna
The Jewel of Annual Astrology is an encyclopaedic treatise on Tājika or Sanskritized Perso-Arabic astrology, dealing particularly with the casting and interpretation of anniversary horoscopes. Authored in 1649 CE by Balabhadra Daivajña, court astrologer to Shāh Shujāʿ – governor of Bengal and second son of the Mughal emperor Shāh Jahān – it casts light on the historical development of the Tājika school by extensive quotations from earlier works spanning five centuries.
With this first-ever scholarly edition and translation of a Tājika text, Martin Gansten makes a significant contribution not only to the study of an important but little known knowledge tradition, but also to the intellectual historiography of Asia and the transmission of horoscopic astrology in the medieval and early modern periods.
The concept, practice, institution and appearance of ‘the state’ have been hotly debated ever since the emergence of history as a discipline within modern scholarship. The field of medieval Islamic history, however, has remained aloof from most of these debates. Rather it tends to take for granted the particularity of dynastic trajectories within only slowly changing bureaucratic contexts. Trajectories of State Formation promotes a more critical and connected understanding of state formation in the late medieval Sultanates of Cairo and of the Timurid, Turkmen and Ottoman dynasties. Projecting seven case studies onto a broad canvas of European and West-Asian research, this volume presents a trans-dynastic reconstruction, interpretation and illustration of statist trajectories across fifteenth century Islamic West-Asia.

Contributors include: Contributors are: Georg Christ, Kristof D’hulster, Jan Dumolyn, Albrecht Fuess, Dimitri J. Kastritsis, Beatrice Forbes Manz, John L. Meloy, Jo Van Steenbergen, and Patrick Wing.