Ancient Libraries and Renaissance Humanism

The De bibliothecis of Justus Lipsius

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Thomas Hendrickson

Winner of the 2018 Josef IJsewijn Prize for Best Book on a Neo-Latin Topic

Although many humanists, from Petrarch to Fulvio Orsini, had written briefly about library history, the De bibliothecis of Justus Lipsius was the first self-contained monograph on the topic. The De bibliothecis proved to be a seminal achievement, both in redefining the scope of library history and in articulating a vision of a public, secular, research institution for the humanities. It was repeatedly reprinted and translated, plagiarized and epitomized. Through the end of the nineteenth century, scholars turned to it as the ultimate foundation for any discussion of library history. In Ancient Libraries and Renaissance Humanism, Hendrickson presents a critical edition of Lipsius’s work with introductory studies, a Latin text, English translation, and a substantial historical commentary.

Les mémoires de Maalaŋ Galisa sur le royaume confédéré du Kaabu

Un récit en langue mandinka de la Guinée-Bissau

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Cornelia Giesing and Denis Creissels

Edition d'un récit en mandinka par Maalaŋ Galisa (octobre 1988) sur la constitution et les conditions de vie au Kaabu, territoire situé entre la Gambie, le Sénégal et la Guinée-Bissau, connu depuis le 16e siècle et détruit vers 1867. La gamme des sujets couvre: le peuplement, le gouvernement, les codes de conduite des guerriers, religieux, esclaves et 'hôtes étrangers', les règles de l'esclavage, du mariage et de la succession, la coexistence des religions, les relations entre groupes d'âge et de genre.
Le texte diffère d'autres qui se focalisent sur un unique fondateur-patriarche, Tiramakan de l'épopée de Sunjata. Galisa parle du sud-est du Kaabu, à la frontière avec la Guinée. Il ajoute des couleurs locales au modèle mandinka, évoquant la puissance féminine et certains conflits violents.

Edition of a recital in Mandinka by Maalaŋ Galisa (October 1988) on the political constitution and living conditions in Kaabu, a territory situated between present Gambia, Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, known since the 16th century, definitely destroyed in 1867. The narrative presents a range of topics covering governance, codes of conduct of warriors, clerics, slaves and 'strangers', rules of slavery, marriage and succession, the cohabitation of different religions, relations of age and gender.
This text is distinctive from others focussing on a single founder-patriarch, Tiramakan of the Epic of Sunjata. Galisa focuses on South-eastern Kaabu, bordering on the region of Labé (Guinea). He adds local colours to the Mandinka model, depicting powerful women and violent conflicts resulting from injustice.

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Edited by Spencer J. Weinreich

In 1588, the Spanish Jesuit Pedro de Ribadeneyra published a history of the English Reformation, which he continued to revise until his death in 1611. Spencer J. Weinreich’s translation is the first English edition of the History, one fully alive to its metamorphoses over two decades. Weinreich’s introduction explores the text’s many dimensions—propaganda for the Spanish Armada, anti-Protestant polemic, Jesuit hagiography, consolation amid tribulation—and assesses Ribadeneyra as a historian. The extensive annotations anchor Ribadeneyra’s narrative in the historical record and reconstruct his sources, methods, and revisions. The History, long derided as mere propaganda, emerges as remarkable evidence of the centrality of historiography to the intellectual, theological, and political battles of early modern Europe.

Biography, Historiography, and Modes of Philosophizing

The Tradition of Collective Biography in Early Modern Europe

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Patrick Baker

By way of essays and a selection of primary sources in parallel text, Biography, Historiography, and Modes of Philosophizing provides an introduction to a vast, significant, but neglected corpus of early modern literature: collective biography. It focuses especially on the various related strands of political, philosophical, and intellectual and cultural biography as well as on the intersection between biography, historiography, and philosophy. Individual texts from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century are presented as examples of how the ancient collective biographical tradition – as represented above all by Plutarch, Suetonius, Diogenes Laertius, and Jerome – was received and transformed in the Renaissance and beyond in accordance with the needs of humanism, religious controversy, politics, and the development of modern philosophy and science.

Caliphate and Kingship in a Fifteenth-Century Literary History of Muslim Leadership and Pilgrimage

al-Ḏahab al-masbūk fī ḏikr man ḥaǧǧa min al-ḫulafāʾ wa-l-mulūk. Critical Edition, Annotated Translation, and Study

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Jo van Steenbergen

In Caliphate and Kingship in a Fifteenth-Century Literary History of Muslim Leadership and Pilgrimage Jo Van Steenbergen presents a new study, edition and translation of al-Ḏahab al-Masbūk fī Ḏikr man Ḥağğa min al-Ḫulafāʾ wa-l-Mulūk, a summary history of the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca by al-Maqrīzī (766-845 AH/ca. 1365-1442 CE). Traditionally considered as a useful source for the history of the ḥağğ, al-Ḏahab al-Masbūk is re-interpreted here as a complex literary construction that was endowed with different meanings. Through detailed contextualist, narratological, semiotic and codicological analyses Van Steenbergen demonstrates how these meanings were deeply embedded in early-fifteenth century Egyptian transformations, how they changed substantially over time, and how they included particular claims about authorship and about legitimate and good Muslim rule.

Christian Apocalyptic Texts in Islamic Messianic Discourse

The ‘Christian Chapter’ of the Jāvidān-nāma-yi kabīr by Faḍl Allāh Astarābādī (d. 796/1394)

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Orkhan Mir-Kasimov

In Christian Apocalyptic Texts in Islamic Messianic Discourse Orkhan Mir-Kasimov offers an account of the interpretation of these Christian texts by Faḍl Allāh Astarābādī (d. 796/1394), the founder of a mystical and messianic movement which was influential in medieval Iran and Anatolia. This interpretation can be situated within the tradition of ‘positive’ Muslim hermeneutics of the Christian and Jewish scriptures which was particularly developed in Shıīʿī and especially Ismaīʿlī circles. Faḍl Allāh incorporates the Christian apocalyptic texts into an Islamic eschatological context, combining them with Qurʾān and ḥadīth material. In addition to an introductory study, the book contains a critical edition and an English translation of the relevant passages from Faḍl Allāh’s magnum opus, the Jāvidān-nāma-yi kabīr.

Le Cercle des lettres de l’alphabet Dā’irat al-aḥruf al-abjadiyya

Un traité pratique de magie des lettres attribué à Hermès

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Cécile Bonmariage and Sébastien Moureau

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.

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Edited by Kai Kresse

Sheikh al-Amin Mazrui wrote his essays of this Guidance ( Uwongozi) collection in Mombasa between 1930 and 1932, providing social critique and moral guidance to Kenya’s coastal Muslims during a period of their decline during British colonial rule. The essays were initially published as a series of double-sided pamphlets called Sahifa (The Page), the first Swahili Islamic newspaper. Inspired by contemporary debates of Pan-Islam and Islamic modernism, and with a critical eye on British colonialism, this leading East African modernist takes issue with his peers, in a sharply critical and yet often humorous tone. Al-Amin Mazrui was the first to publish Islamic educational prose and social commentary in Swahili. This bi-lingual edition makes fascinating reading for specialists and general readers.

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al-ʿAllāmah al-Ḥillī

Edited by Sayyid Amjad Hussain Shah Naqavi

Foundations of Jurisprudence: An Introduction to Imāmī Shīʿī Legal Theory is a critical edition of the Arabic text with a parallel English translation of Mabādiʾ al-wuṣūl ilā ʿilm al-uṣūl by al-ʿAllāmah al-Ḥillī, introduced, edited and translated by Sayyid Amjad H. Shah Naqavi.
Al-ʿAllāmah al-Ḥillī participated in the leading debates of his day and applied his vast erudition in philosophy, logic, and theology to the paramount subject of jurisprudence. This text presents an exemplar of the rich revival of Shīʿī scholarship in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries of the Common Era. Concise, yet comprehensive, this work sets the standard for the subsequent development and discussion of Imāmī Shīʿī legal theory, such that its influence can be traced through to modern times. This dual-text edition is indispensable for students and scholars of Imāmi Shīʿī jurisprudence.

Synopsis Purioris Theologiae / Synopsis of a Purer Theology 

Latin Text and English Translation: Volume 2, Disputations 24 - 42

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Henk van den Belt, Riemer Faber, Andreas Beck and William den Boer

This bilingual edition of the Synopsis Purioris Theologiae (1625) provides English readers access to an influential textbook of Reformed Orthodoxy. Composed by four professors at the University of Leiden (Johannes Polyander, Andreas Rivetus, Antonius Walaeus, and Anthonius Thysius), it offers a presentation of Reformed theology as it was conceived in the first decades of the seventeenth century. From a decidedly Reformed perspective, the Christian doctrine is defined in contrast with alternative or diverging views, such as those of Roman Catholics, Arminians, and Socinians. The Synopsis responds to challenges coming from the immediate theological, social, and philosophical contexts. The disputations of this second volume cover topics such as Predestination, Christology, Faith and Repentance, Justification and Sanctification, and Ecclesiology.