‘Alā’ al-Dawla al-Simnānī Between Spiritual Authority and Political Power: A Persian Lord and Intellectual in the Heart of the Ilkhanate

With a Critical Edition of al-Wārid alšārid al-ṭārid šubhat al-mārid and its Persian version Zayn al-mu‘taqad li-zayn al-mu‘taqid

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Giovanni Maria Martini

In ʿAlāʾ al-Dawla al-Simnānī between Spiritual Authority and Political Power: A Persian Lord and Intellectual in the Heart of the Ilkhanate, Giovanni Maria Martini investigates the personality of a major figure in the socio-political and cultural landscape of Mongol Iran. In pursuing this objective, the author follows parallel paths: Chapter 1 provides the most updated reconstruction of Simnānī’s (d. 736/1336) biography, which, thanks to its unique features, emerges as a cross-section of Iranian society and as a microhistory of the complex relationships between a Sufi master, Persian elites and Mongol rulers during the Ilkhanid period; Chapter 2 contains a study on the phenomenon of Arabic-Persian diglossia in Simnānī’s written work, arguing for its socio-religious function; in Chapters 3 to 6 the critical editions of two important, interrelated treatises by Simnānī are presented; finally, Chapter 7 offers the first full-length annotated translation of a long work by Simnānī ever to appear in a Western language.

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L.S. Filius

Aristotle’s Historia Animalium is one of the most famous and influential zoological works that was ever written. It was translated into Arabic in the 9th century CE together with Aristotle’s other zoological works, On the Generation of Animals and On the Parts of Animals. As a result, the influence of Aristotelian zoology is widely traceable in classical Arabic literary culture and thought. The Arabic translation found its way into Europe through the 13th-century Latin translation by Michael Scotus, which was extensively used by medieval European scholars. A critical edition of the Arabic Historia Animalium has long been awaited, and Lourus Filius’s edition, based on all extant Arabic MSS, as well as on Scotus’s Latin translation, can rightly be seen as a scholarly landmark.

Opposition to Philosophy in Safavid Iran

Mulla Muḥammad-Ṭāhir Qummi’s Ḥikmat al-ʿĀrifīn

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Edited by Ata Anzali and S.M. Hadi Gerami

In Opposition to Philosophy in Safavid Iran, Ata Anzali and S. M. Hadi Gerami offer a critical edition of a hitherto unpublished manuscript that is arguably the most erudite and extensive polemical work against philosophy and philosophical mysticism from the Safavid period. The introduction offers an extensive and in-depth analysis of the status of philosophy in the late Safavid period, placing Mulla Muhammad-Tahir Qummi’s (d. 1689) work in the broader context of the relevant cultural and intellectual developments of his time.
The content of Hikmat al-‘arifin itself is divided between a refutation of many traditional philosophical arguments about the nature of God and His attributes and, more importantly for those interested in Safavid intellectual history, attacks on Mulla Sadra and his students for synthesizing fundamental elements Ibn ‘Arabi’s thought into the framework of traditional philosophical discourse.

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Edited by Stephen Bulman and Valentin Vydrine

The Epic of Sumanguru Kante contains the Bamana text and English translation of griot Abdoulaye Sako’s oral narrative of the life of Sumanguru, recorded in 1997 in Koulikoro (Mali), together with explanatory notes, a scholarly introduction, and sections on the Bamana language and musical accompaniment. Sumanguru is a familiar figure within Manding epic oral traditions about ancient Mali. But while these narratives generally focus on Sunjata Keita, Sako’s oral poem is rare in according Sumanguru the central role. In so doing he includes hitherto undocumented episodes relating to Sumanguru’s life and role as the ruler of Soso, the little known state said to have flourished in the western Sudan between the fall of ancient Ghana and rise of ancient Mali.

Nahrungsmittel in der arabischen Medizin

Das Kitāb al-Aġḏiya wa-l-ašriba des Naǧīb ad-Dīn as-Samarqandī

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Juliane Müller

Naǧīb ad-Dīn as-Samarqandīs (st. 619/1222) Buch der Nahrungsmittel und Getränke ( Kitāb al-Aġḏiya wa-l-ašriba) ist ein umfassendes medizinisches Lexikon mit Informationen zu über 500 verschiedenen Nahrungsmitteln, Speisen, Getränken und Duftstoffen. Es kann als letzte große arabische Monografie zur Diätetik im islamischen Osten angesehen werden und stellt vermutlich eines der am weitesten verbreiteten vormodernen arabischen Bücher zum Thema Ernährung dar. In Nahrungsmittel in der arabischen Medizin bietet Juliane Müller eine textkritische Edition des Kitāb al-Aġḏiya wa-l-ašriba mit deutscher Übersetzung. Anschließend verorten Kapitel zur Textgenese und Rezeption des Werks sowie zu seinen ernährungsmedizinischen Inhalten as-Samarqandīs Nahrungsmittellexikon in seinem Kontext innerhalb der arabischen Medizinliteratur.

Najīb ad-Dīn as-Samarqandī’s (d. 619/1222) Book on Foods and Drinks ( Kitāb al-Aghḏiya wa-l-ashriba) is a comprehensive medical encyclopedia with information on more than 500 different food items, dishes, drinks and fragrances. It can be considered to be the last major Arabic monograph on dietetics in the Islamic East and it probably rates among the most widespread premodern Arabic books on the subject of nutrition science. In Nahrungsmittel in der arabischen Medizin, Juliane Müller presents a critical edition of the Kitāb al-Aghḏiya wa-l-ashriba along with a German translation of the text. An extensive contextual study locates the book and its dietetic contents within Arabic medical literature and examines the sources and the reception of as-Samarqandī's food encyclopedia.

Nersēs of Lambron: Commentary on the Dormition of Saint John

Armenian Text and Annotated Translation

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Edited by Robert W. Thomson

This is the first translation of the twelfth century Armenian commentary on the death of John the Evangelist as found in the Acts of John. The last section of the apocryphal life of the Evangelist became detached from the whole, and circulated widely in the churches of east and west. The Armenian version was included in service books, Bibles, and collections of saints’ lives. Yet no medieval commentary on that brief text is known in any other language.
Nersēs of Lambron [1153-1198], Archbishop of Tarsus, was a prolific author and an influential player in the ecclesiastical politics of his era. He used this work as a medium for spiritual reflection, and for an exposition of the Armenian tradition as opposed to the theologies of the Greek and Syrian churches.

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Daniel J. Nodes

The Samarites by Petrus Papeus offers an effective blending of gospel narrative and ancient Roman comedy, combining manner of Plautus and Terence with the didacticism of medieval allegory and morality plays and the poetic diction of Renaissance humanism. In the Samarites they are the ingredients that present both moral and doctrinal teachings related to the gospel parables of the Prodigal Son and Good Samaritan. Papeus’ work is an excellent example not only of the early modern school play, but also of the shifting conceptions of drama in Europe at that time. Daniel Nodes presents a critical edition and translation of the play together with a humanist commentary produced in Toledo by Alexius Vanegas three years after the play’s first printing in Antwerp.

Malay Court Religion, Culture and Language

Interpreting the Qurʾān in 17th Century Aceh

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Peter G. Riddell

In Malay Court Religion, Culture and Language: Interpreting the Qurʾān in 17th Century Aceh Peter G. Riddell undertakes a detailed study of the two earliest works of Qur’anic exegesis from the Malay-Indonesian world. Riddell explores the 17th century context in the Sultanate of Aceh that produced the two works, and the history of both texts. He argues that political, social and religious factors provide important windows into the content and approaches of both Qur’anic commentaries. He also provides a transliteration of the Jawi Malay text of both commentaries on sūra 18 of the Qur'ān ( al-Kahf), as well as an annotated translation into English. This work represents an important contribution to the search for greater understanding of the early Islamic history of the Malay-Indonesian world.

The Purple Island

Or: The Isle of Man

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Phineas Fletcher

Edited by Johnathan H. Pope

Phineas Fletcher’s epic allegorical poem The Purple Island (1633) combines anatomical and devotional perspectives on the self as the poet explores the relationship between body and soul. The titular island is figured as both body and as England, thus merging religious, corporeal, devotional, and geo-national narratives. The present critical edition offers the first fresh editorial approach to the poem in over a century and situates the poem in its historical and critical contexts. Although the poem has often been regarded as a bizarre and fragmented curiosity, Johnathan H. Pope compellingly argues in favour of a more unified reading and understanding of the text as a whole, offering a newly-annotated edition that illuminates the text for both the Fletcher specialist and newcomer alike.

Roger Ascham’s 'A Defence of the Lord’s Supper'

Latin text and English translation

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Lucy R. Nicholas

It has been estimated that well over half the books published during the sixteenth century were in Latin. Many have never been translated and hence garnered little scholarly attention. However, a good number of them have a direct bearing on the history of the religious Reformation and its actors. One of these is Roger Ascham’s Apologia pro Caena Dominica, a theological tract on the Eucharist which trenchantly attacked the Catholic Mass and sacrificing priests. Composed in Cambridge at the start of Edward VI’s reign in 1547, it was published posthumously some thirty years later in 1577. Here for the first time Lucy Nicholas offers a modern edition of Ascham’s Apologia that sets forth the Latin original with parallel English translation.