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Thirty years after the fall of Soviet power, we are beginning to understand that the experience of Muslims in the USSR continued patterns of adaptation and negotiation known from Muslim history in the lands that became the Soviet Union, and in other regions as well; we can also now understand that the long history of Muslims situating religious authority locally, in the various regions that came under Soviet rule, in fact continued through the Soviet era into post-Soviet times.
The present volume is intended to historicize the question of religious authority in Muslim Central Eurasia, through historical and anthropological case studies about the exercise, negotiation, or institutionalization of authority, from the nineteenth to the early twenty-first century; it thus seeks to frame Islamic religious history in the areas shaped by Russian and Soviet rule in terms of issues relevant to Muslims themselves, as Muslims, rather than solely in terms of questions of colonial rule.

Contributors are Sergei Abashin, Ulfat Abdurasulov, Bakhtiyar Babajanov, Devin DeWeese, Allen J. Frank, Benjamin Gatling, Agnès Kefeli, Paolo Sartori, Wendell Schwab, Pavel Shabley, Shamil Shikhaliev, and William A. Wood.
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This first and only English translation of Rong Xinjiang’s The Silk Road and Cultural Exchanges Between East and West is a collection of 28 papers on the history of the Silk Road and the interactions among the peoples and cultures of East and Central Asia, including the so-called Western Regions in modern-day Xinjiang. Each paper is a masterly study that combines information obtained from historical records with excavated materials, such as manuscripts, inscriptions and artefacts. The new materials primarily come from north-western China, including sites in the regions of Dunhuang, Turfan, Kucha, and Khotan. The book contains a wealth of original insights into nearly every aspect of the complex history of this region.
This book solves the long-standing mystery of a Christian monastery near Samarkand, seen and described by two Arab travellers in the tenth century. Despite several attempts made since the 1890s, its precise location had never been established. The first part covers the quest, the find, and the archaeological excavations’ results. Then the author proceeds to search for a mediaeval Christian enclave near modern Tashkent, which appears to have been washed away by a river that changed its course over centuries.
Apart from the Christians, the book also touches upon the Manichaeans, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and other Sogdians, their languages, faiths, and material remnants.
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Dunhuang: China’s traditional northwest frontier and overland conduit of exchange with the Old World. Jao Tsung-i: China’s last great traditional man of letters, polymath, and pioneer of comparative humanistic inquiry during Hong Kong’s global heyday. Jao and Dunhuang had a special relationship that this book makes accessible in English for the first time. Inside, Jao proposes an entirely new school of Chinese landscape painting, reconsiders Dunhuang’s oldest manuscripts as its newest research field, and explores topics ranging from comparative religion to medieval multimedia.
Practices and Rituals, Visual and Material Transfer
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The ERC-funded research project BuddhistRoad aims to create a new framework to enable understanding of the complexities in the dynamics of cultural encounter and religious transfer in pre-modern Eastern Central Asia. Buddhism was one major factor in this exchange: for the first time the multi-layered relationships between the trans-regional Buddhist traditions (Chinese, Indian, Tibetan) and those based on local Buddhist cultures (Khotanese, Uyghur, Tangut) will be explored in a systematic way. The second volume Buddhism in Central Asia II—Practice and Rituals, Visual and Materials Transfer based on the mid-project conference held on September 16th–18th, 2019, at CERES, Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany) focuses on two of the six thematic topics addressed by the project, namely on “practices and rituals”, exploring material culture in religious context such as mandalas and talismans, as well as “visual and material transfer”, including shared iconographies and the spread of ‘Khotanese’ themes.
Mit einer kritischen Edition des Kitāb al-Kifāya fī l-hidāya fī uṣūl ad-dīn des Aḥmad b. Maḥmūd b. Abī Bakr Nūr ad-Dīn aṣ-Ṣābūnī al-Ḥanafī al-Buḫārī (gest. 580/1184)
Nūr al-Dīn al-Ṣābūnī was a prominent jurist and theologian in Samarqand in the late 6th/12th century. His theological works are in the tradition of the Ḥanafite-Māturīdite current of Sunni kalām. In addition, al-Ṣābūnī’s argumentation reflects the increasing engagement of Māturīdite mutakallimūn with their wide intellectual-historical environment. His discussions with the famous scholar Faḫr al-Dīn al-Rāzī are attested.
In the present volume, Angelika Brodersen uses a text-critical edition of al-Ṣābūnī’s comprehensive theological work, the Kitāb al-Kifāya fī l-hidāya fī uṣūl al-dīn, to analyze, based on selected thematic examples, how both elements of Māturīdite theological tradition and transformation processes occur in al-Ṣābūnī’s work, which contributed to the consolidation of the Māturīdiyya as a Sunni school of thought.

Nūr ad-Dīn aṣ-Ṣābūnī war ein prominenter Jurist und Theologe im Samarkand des ausgehenden 6./12. Jahrhunderts. Seine theologischen Werke stehen einerseits in der Tradition der ḥanafitisch-māturīditischen Strömung des sunnitischen kalāms. Auf der anderen Seite spiegelt aṣ-Ṣābūnīs Argumentation die zunehmende Auseinandersetzung der māturīditischen mutakallimūn mit ihrem allgemeinen geistesgeschichtlichen Umfeld wider. Bezeugt sind seine Diskussionen mit dem berühmten Gelehrten Faḫr ad-Dīn ar-Rāzī.
Im vorliegenden Band untersucht Angelika Brodersen auf der Grundlage einer textkritischen Edition von aṣ-Ṣābūnīs theologischem Hauptwerk, dem Kitāb al-Kifāya fī l-hidāya fī uṣūl ad-dīn, anhand ausgewählter Themenbeispiele, wie sich im Werk aṣ-Ṣābūnīs sowohl Elemente māturīditischer theologischer Tradition als auch Transformationsprozesse verfolgen lassen, die zur Konsolidierung der Māturīdiyya als sunnitische Schulrichtung beigetragen haben.
A Study of Manuscripts, Texts, and Contexts in Memory of John R. McRae
Chán Buddhism in Dūnhuáng and Beyond: A Study of Manuscripts, Texts, and Contexts in Memory of John R. McRae is dedicated to the memory of the eminent Chán scholar John McRae and investigates the spread of early Chán in a historical, multi-lingual, and interreligious context. Combining the expertise of scholars of Chinese, Tibetan, Uighur, and Tangut Buddhism, the edited volume is based on a thorough study of manuscripts from Dūnhuáng, Turfan, and Karakhoto, tracing the particular features of Chán in the Northwestern and Northern regions of late medieval China.
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In Praise of the Few: Studies in Shiʿi Thought and History is a selection of Etan Kohlberg’s research on Shiʿi Islam over a period of fifty years. It includes previously published articles, revised dissertation chapters, and a full bibliography of the author’s work. Divided into two parts, the collection begins with chapters from Kohlberg’s Oxford doctoral dissertation (1971) and related articles that investigate Sunni and Shiʿi views on the Prophet’s Companions and debates concerning the extent of their authority as sources of religious knowledge. Part Two traces the doctrinal and historical developments pertaining to various dimensions of Imāmī Shiʿi intellectual tradition such as theology, hadith, law, jurisprudence, and exegesis.
Patronage, Legitimation, Sacred Space, and Pilgrimage
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The ERC-funded research project BuddhistRoad aims to create a new framework to enable understanding of the complexities in the dynamics of cultural encounter and religious transfer in pre-modern Eastern Central Asia. Buddhism was one major factor in this exchange: for the first time the multi-layered relationships between the trans-regional Buddhist traditions (Chinese, Indian, Tibetan) and those based on local Buddhist cultures (Khotanese, Uyghur, Tangut, Khitan) will be explored in a systematic way. The first volume Buddhism in Central Asia (Part I): Patronage, Legitimation, Sacred Space, and Pilgrimage is based on the start-up conference held on May 23rd–25th, 2018, at CERES, Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany) and focuses on the first two of altogether six thematic topics to be dealt with in the project, namely on “patronage and legitimation strategy” as well as “sacred space and pilgrimage.”
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Nira Stone (1938-2013) was a scholar of Armenian and Byzantine Art. Her broad and close acquaintance with the field of Armenian art history covered many fields of Armenian artistic creativity. Nira Stone made notable contributions to the study of Armenian manuscript painting, mosaics, and other forms of artistic expression. Of particular interests are her researches on this art in its historical and religious contexts, such as the study of apocryphal elements in Armenian Gospel iconography, the place of the mosaics of Jerusalem in the context of mosaics in Byzantine Palestine, and of the interplay between religious movements, such as hesychasm, and Armenian manuscript painting.