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Rethinking a Shared Sphere
Editors: Abbas Amanat and Assef Ashraf
The Persianate World: Rethinking a Shared Sphere is among the first books to explore the pre-modern and early modern historical ties among such diverse regions as Anatolia, the Iranian plateau, Central Asia, Western Xinjiang, the Indian subcontinent, and southeast Asia, as well as the circumstances that reoriented these regions and helped break up the Persianate ecumene in modern times. Essays explore the modalities of Persianate culture, the defining features of the Persianate cosmopolis, religious practice and networks, the diffusion of literature across space, subaltern social groups, and the impact of technological advances on language. Taken together, the essays reflect the current scholarship in Persianate studies, and offer pathways for future research.
Editor: Reza Pourjavady
During its Qajar period (1210–1344/1795–1925), Iran witnessed some lively and significant philosophical discourse. Yet apart from studies devoted to individual figures such as Mullā Hādī Sabzawārī and Shaykh Aḥmad Aḥsāʾī, modern scholarship has paid little attention to the animated discussions and vibrant traditions of philosophy that continued in Iran during this period. The articles assembled in this book present an account of the life, works and philosophical challenges taken up by seven major philosophers of the Qajar period. As a collection, the articles convey the range and diversity of Qajar philosophical thinking. Besides indigenous thoughts, the book also deals with the reception of European philosophy in Iran at the time.
Tafsīr sūrat al-baqara by Sayyid ʿAlī Muḥammad Shīrāzī, The Báb (1819-1850)
In Tafsir as Mystical Experience, Todd Lawson shows how the Quran may be engaged with for meaning and understanding, the usual goal of mystical exegesis, and also how it may be engaged with through tafsīr in a quest for spiritual or mystical experience. In this earliest of the Báb’s extended works, written before his public claim to be the return of the hidden Imam, the act of reading is shown to be something akin to holy communion in which the sacred text is both entrance upon and destination of the mystic quest. The Quran here is a door to an “abode of glory” and an abiding spiritual encounter with the divine through the prophet, his daughter Fāṭima and the twelve Imams of Ithna-ʿasharī Shiʿism who inhabit the letters, words, verses and suras of the Book.

Cover calligraphy by Burhan Zahrai of Quran 53:11

The article is an attempt to restore the approximate number of the people classified by the Shariʽa law as ’ahl aḏ-ḏimma, i.e. gentiles (mostly Christians), who were under the protection of the Arab (Islamic) Caliphate in the vilayet of Armīnīya and in its three administrative units—Armīnīya I, Armīnīya II (Arrān), and Armīnīya III (Djurzan/Ǧurzān).

In: Iran and the Caucasus

The article presents an analysis of the place-names with the formants -(v)īγ/-(w)yq/ and - vīǰ, attested in the South Caspian and the north-western provinces of Iran.

In: Iran and the Caucasus
In: Iran and the Caucasus
In: Iran and the Caucasus

The Ilkhanid vizier and historian Rashīd al-Dīn’s section on China (the History of China) in his world history, the Jāmiʿ al-tawārīkh, is the first Persian history of the Chinese world. Among other information on China, this text includes accounts of the lives and deeds of the founders of the three major religious and philosophical schools of China: Buddha, Laozi and Confucius. These are probably the first discussions of Laozi and Confucius in the Islamicate world. This paper focuses on Rashīd al-Dīn’s life of Buddha in his History of China. Reading these excerpts against the background of Chinese sources, striking similarities can be found between Rashīd al-Dīn’s account and the narratives of Buddhist ‘universal histories’ of the early Yuan period, belonging to the historiographical production of the Chan school.

In: Iran and the Caucasus

The Ilkhanid vizier and historian Rashīd al-Dīn’s section on China (the History of China) in his world history, the Jāmiʿal-tawārīkh, is the first Persian history of the Chinese world. Among other information on China, this text includes accounts of the lives and deeds of the founders of its three major religious and philosophical schools: Buddha, Laozi and Confucius. As a continuation to the first part of the paper, devoted to Rashīd al-Dīn’s account on the Buddha, here we focus on the excerpts on Laozi and Confucius, which probably constitute the first discussions of these two figures in the Islamicate world. Reading these excerpts against the background of Chinese sources, striking similarities can be found between Rashīd al-Dīn’s accounts and the narratives of Buddhist ‘universal histories’ of the early Yuan period, belonging to the historiographical production of the Chan school.

In: Iran and the Caucasus