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  • Middle East and Islamic Studies x
  • Philosophy, Theology & Science x
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  • Primary Language: English x

The Qurʾān in Context

Historical and Literary Investigations into the Qurʾānic Milieu


Edited by Angelika Neuwirth, Nicolai Sinai and Michael Marx

Although recent scholarship has increasingly situated the Qur'ān in the historical context of Late Antiquity, such a perspective is only rarely accompanied by the kind of microstructural literary analysis routinely applied to the Bible. The present volume seeks to redress this lack of contact between literary and historical studies. Contributions to the first part of the volume address various general aspects of the Qur’an’s political, economic, linguistic, and cultural context, while the second part contains a number of close readings of specific Qur’ānic passages in the light of Judeo-Christian tradition and ancient Arabic poetry, as well as discussions of the Qur’ān’s internal chronology and transmission history. Throughout, special emphasis is given to methodological questions.

This title is available as paperback.

Suffering in Mu‘tazilite Theology

‘Abd al-Jabbār's Teaching on Pain and Divine Justice



‘Abd al-Ğabbār (d. 1024 AD) belonged to the Bahšamiyya branch of the Basra Mu‘tazila. The Mu‘tazilites upheld the principle of divine justice, and from this perspective they attempted to explain the existence of pain and suffering.
This volume deals with ‘Abd al-Ğabbār's opinions on different aspects of pain, such as what pain is, how it is perceived, how it comes into existence, how to judge the infliction of pain and for which purpose God imposes suffering on His creatures. Attention is also given to opinions expressed by Mānkdīm and Ibn Mattawayh, disciples of ‘Abd al-Ğabbār.
Included is a historical survey of the Bahšamiyya school. The book sheds light on ‘Abd al-Ğabbār's Mu‘tazilite method in dealing with the question of the existence of human suffering.

Averroes and the Aristotelian Tradition

Sources, Constitution and Reception of the Philosophy of Ibn Rushd (1126-1198). Proceedings of the Fourth Symposium Averroicum (Cologne, 1996)


Edited by Jan Aertsen and Gerhard Endress

Averroes the philosopher was the Commentator of Aristotle. In this, the project of his life coincided with the perception of his contemporary readers and with the esteem governing four centuries of European Aristotelianism. It has been the purpose of the 4th Symposium Averroicum to contribute to a better understanding of this philosophy: both on the basis of Averroes' works and in the light of his sources. The Symposium, held in conjunction with the 6th Editors Conference of the Averrois Opera, brought together eminent scholars and researchers on Averroes and adjacent areas. Their contributions are presented in four sections:
- The Project of Averroes
- Averroes and the Hellenistic Commentators
- Averroes, the Commentator
- Averroes and the Latin Tradition
A bibliography of editions and contributions to the text is appended (to date 1998).

World-maps for Finding the Direction and Distance to Mecca

Innovation and Tradition in Islamic Science


David King

Two remarkable Iranian world-maps were discovered in 1989 and 1995. Both are made of brass and date from 17th-century Iran. Mecca is at the centre and a highly sophisticated longitude and latitude grid enables the user to determine the direction and distance to Mecca for anywhere in the world between Andalusia and China. Prior to the discovery of these maps it was thought that such cartographic grids were conceived in Europe ca. 1910. This richly-illustrated book presents an overview of the ways in which Muslims over the centuries have determined the sacred direction towards Mecca ( qibla) and then describes the two world-maps in detail. The author shows that the geographical data derives from a 15th-century Central Asian source and that the mathematics underlying the grid was developed in 9th-century Baghdad.

The Abbreviation of the Introduction to Astrology

Together with the Medieval Latin Translation of Adelard of Bath


Abu Ma‘šar

Abū Ma‘šar (787-886, in Western Europe known as Albumasar) was the best known astrologer of the Middle Ages in both the Islamic world and the Christian West. His master-work was the Great Introduction to astrology, which was copied into numerous Arabic manuscripts, translated twice into Latin, and printed in the Renaissance. However, he himself made an abbreviation of this work, which summarised the astrological information in the larger work in a convenient way. This abbreviation survives in two Arabic manuscripts and a Latin translation made by Adelard of Bath in the early twelfth century.
The Abbreviation of the Introduction to Astrology contains the first edition of the Abbreviation and the Latin translation, with English translations of both texts and several indexes. As well as being of interest to cultural historians it should serve as a useful introduction to medieval astrology.


Majid F. Fakhry

In Ethical Theories in Islam, the author has given a typology of Islamic ethics, without overlooking altogether the chronological development. Four such types of ethical theory have been isolated: the scriptural, the theological, the philosophical and the religious.
The first edition has already been favourably reviewed by scholars in Europe, America and the Middle East, as a significant contribution to a little-studied subject. This second edition contains extra material from Ibn Sīnā's writings, translated into English for the first time.
The book should be of interest to Islamic scholars, philosophers and historians of ethics.



This book describes Socrates as he was depicted in medieval Arabic literature. The body of anecdotes, sayings and evaluations of Socrates existent in Arabic literature leads one to search for an explanation for the popularity of this ancient, Greek, pagan philosopher.
The author argues that Socrates played a role of legitimizing authority in the religious controversies between Christians and Muslims on the one hand and between the more rationalistic minded Muslims and the more traditionalistic ones on the other hand.
Thus, three approaches are encountered: those belonging to the non-fundamentalistic stream in Islam refer to Socrates as a prophet, historians such as ibn Fātik or ibn Abī Usaib‘ah, who relate to Socrates as an exemplary personality with tacit Islamic qualities. The third approach is that of orthodox writers such as al-Ghazālī who attack Socrates as a non-believer.



This book examines a widespread, and often misunderstood, doctrine within the medieval Aristotelian tradition, namely the inclusion of Aristotle's Rhetoric and Poetics within the scope of the Organon. It studies this doctrine, as presented by the Islamic philosophers Al- Fārābī, Avicenna, and Averroes, from a purely philosophical perspective, and argues that the logical construal of the arts of rhetoric and poetics is both interesting and illuminating.
The book begins by examining some prevalent misconceptions regarding the logical interpretation of the Rhetoric and Poetics. Chapter two considers the Greek background of the doctrine, first through an examination of the Aristotelian divisions of the sciences, and then through an examination of the beginnings of the logical classification of the Rhetoric and Poetics among the Greek commentators from the school of Alexandria. The remainder of the work is devoted to a detailed consideration of the Arabic philosophers' development of the doctrine, both their understanding of its general epistemological and logical underpinnings, and their elaboration of the specific logical structures upon which poetical and rhetorical discourse is based. Consideration is also given to the relationship between contemporary philosophical views of rhetoric and poetics, and the views of these medieval authors.

The medieval Islamic controversy between philosophy and orthodoxy

Ijmā‘ and ta’wīl in the conflict between al-Ghazālī and Ibn Rushd


de Bello