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Editor: Yosef Kaplan
From the sixteenth century on, hundreds of Portuguese New Christians began to flow to Venice and Livorno in Italy, and to Amsterdam and Hamburg in northwest Europe. In those cities and later in London, Bordeaux, and Bayonne as well, Iberian conversos established their own Jewish communities, openly adhering to Judaism. Despite the features these communities shared with other confessional groups in exile, what set them apart was very significant. In contrast to other European confessional communities, whose religious affiliation was uninterrupted, the Western Sephardic Jews came to Judaism after a separation of generations from the religion of their ancestors. In this edited volume, several experts in the field detail the religious and cultural changes that occurred in the Early Modern Western Sephardic communities.

"Highly recommended for all academic and Jewish libraries." - David B Levy, Touro College, NYC, in: Association of Jewish Libraries News and Reviews 1.2 (2019)

Abstract

Avicenna’s Neoplatonic account of divine providence and theodicy was hugely influential on later philosophical and religious thought in the Islamic world. However, it was severely criticised by one of his earlier commentators, the theologian-philosopher Faḫr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (d. 606/1210). While Avicenna champions an optimist theodicean thesis of a plenitude of good to support the theory of providence integrated into his cosmogony, his commentator counters by arguing for a plenitude of evil and an overall pessimist anti-theodicy. Rejecting Avicenna’s ontological-cum-cosmological account of evil, al-Rāzī argues that a theodicy must be strictly subject-centred and is ultimately a futile exercise. This article includes a study and translation of the relevant section in his commentary on Avicenna’s al-Išārāt wa-l-tanbīhāt (Pointers and Reminders).

In: Intellectual History of the Islamicate World
Opening New Archives, Revisiting a Global City
In Ordinary Jerusalem, Angelos Dalachanis, Vincent Lemire and thirty-five scholars depict the ordinary history of an extraordinary global city in the late Ottoman and Mandate periods. Utilizing largely unknown archives, they revisit the holy city of three religions, which has often been defined solely as an eternal battlefield and studied exclusively through the prism of geopolitics and religion. At the core of their analysis are topics and issues developed by the European Research Council-funded project “Opening Jerusalem Archives: For a Connected History of Citadinité in the Holy City, 1840–1940.” Drawn from the French vocabulary of geography and urban sociology, the concept of citadinité describes the dynamic identity relationship a city’s inhabitants develop with each other and with their urban environment.

Abstract

The developing myth about the events at Karbala, as well as the image of al-Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī and the cult connected with him, were important factors in the shaping of early Shiite identity. In this article, I argue that some of the earliest traces of this process are found in the account of the Tawwābūn, or Penitents, events which took place in the years immediately following the death of al-Ḥusayn at Karbala in 60/680. Important elements of this story originate at least as early as the late first/early eighth century. In the story we see the image of al-Ḥusayn in process of transformation from that of someone merely human to someone ascribed traits that transcend the human. In the same course of events, the story of his death at Karbala is in process of being elevated from a tragic story to a myth with its associated rituals.

In: Intellectual History of the Islamicate World

This article reassesses the attribution of the Aphorisms commentary preserved in the Haddad Memorial Library (MS Ḥaddād) to Palladius. Where the evidence for the commentary in Greek sources is virtually non-existent, Arabic testimonia are more numerous. We discuss Arabic fragments in Muḥammad ibn Zakarīyā al-Rāzī’s Comprehensive Book (al-Kitāb al-Ḥāwī) and Arabic commentaries on the Hippocratic Aphorisms. These fragments demonstrate that Palladius wrote a commentary on the Aphorisms. Analysis of MS Ḥaddād, however, reveals that the commentary it preserves cannot be a translation of Palladius’ Greek text. Philological evidence occasions the conclusion that MS Ḥaddād contains an anonymous Arabic Aphorisms commentary written in the early ʿAbbāsid period. We discuss two Hebrew manuscripts that purport to be translations of Palladius’ commentary. Although more work on the Hebrew Palladius is needed, it is clear that the Hebrew commentaries are different translations of the anonymous Aphorisms commentary in MS Ḥaddād.

In: Intellectual History of the Islamicate World
In: Intellectual History of the Islamicate World