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Muqarnas 37 introduces new research on Islamic material culture ranging from Abbasid period mosaics to the early twentieth-century art market. Featured articles include Charles Melville’s introduction of a chronicle that sheds light on the architectural program of Shah ʿAbbas I, in particular his patronage of the dynastic shrine at Ardabil. From the Ottoman period, two essays discuss painted manuscripts: the first traces shifting representations of urban space in late sixteenth-century Istanbul, and the second focuses on sumptuous objects—namely, candy gardens and decorated palms—accompanying the extraordinary 1720 circumcision festival under Sultan Ahmed III. Another article seeks to unravel the mysterious origins of an unusually sophisticated painting of Mecca from the seventeenth or eighteenth century. Other topics covered are archaeological finds in Tunisia, and the legacy of Russian modernization efforts in the architecture of East Anatolia, especially the city of Kars. The Notes and Sources section examines the waqfiyya of the earliest surviving Halveti lodge in Amasya, as well as the function of various types of lamps in contemporary Pakistani Sufi shrines.
In Necessary Existence and the Doctrine of Being in Avicenna’s Metaphysics of the Healing Daniel De Haan explicates the central argument of Avicenna’s metaphysical masterpiece. De Haan argues that the most fundamental primary notion in Avicenna’s metaphysics is neither being nor thing but is the necessary ( wājib), which Avicenna employs to demonstrate the existence and true-nature of the divine necessary existence in itself. This conclusion is established through a systematic investigation of how Avicenna’s theory of a demonstrative science is employed in the organization of his metaphysical science into its subject, first principles, and objects of enquiry. The book examines the essential role the first principles as primary notions and primary hypotheses play in the central argument of Avicenna’s metaphysics.
Breaching the Bronze Wall deals with the idea that the word of honorable Muslims constituted proof and with the concept that written documents and the word of non-Muslims were inferior. Foreign merchants in cities like Istanbul, Damascus or Alexandria could barely prove any claim, as neither their contracts nor their words were of any value if countered by Muslims. Francisco Apellániz explores how both groups labored to overcome these ‘biases against non-Muslims’ in the courts and markets of Mamluk Egypt and Syria of the 14th and 15th centuries, and how the Ottoman conquest (1517) imposed a new, orthodox view on the problem. The book dives into the Middle Eastern archive and the Ottoman Dīvān, and scrutinizes the intricacies of sharia and the handling of these intracacies by consuls, dragomans, qaḍīs and other legal actors.
Ideologies, Rhetoric, and Practices
From the early phases of modern missions, Christian missionaries supported many humanitarian activities, mostly framed as subservient to the preaching of Christianity. This anthology contributes to a historically grounded understanding of the complex relationship between Christian missions and the roots of humanitarianism and its contemporary uses in a Middle Eastern context. Contributions focus on ideologies, rhetoric, and practices of missionaries and their apostolates towards humanitarianism, from the mid-19th century Middle East crises, examining different missionaries, their society’s worldview and their network in various areas of the Middle East. In the early 20th century Christian missions increasingly paid more attention to organisation and bureaucratisation (‘rationalisation’), and media became more important to their work. The volume analyses how non-missionaries took over, to a certain extent, the aims and organisations of the missionaries as to humanitarianism. It seeks to discover and retrace such ‘entangled histories’ for the first time in an integral perspective.

Contributors include: Beth Baron, Philippe Bourmaud, Seija Jalagin, Nazan Maksudyan, Michael Marten, Heleen (L.) Murre-van den Berg, Inger Marie Okkenhaug, Idir Ouahes, Maria Chiara Rioli, Karène Sanchez Summerer, Bertrand Taithe, and Chantal Verdeil
Cities of Medieval Iran brings together studies in urban geography, archaeology, and history of medieval Iranian cities, spanning the Islamic period until ca. 1500, but also the pre-Islamic situation. The cities and their inhabitants take centre stage, they are not just the places where something else happened. Urban actors are given priority over external factors. The contributions take a long-term perspective and thus take the interaction between urban centres and their hinterland into account. Many contributions come from history or archaeology, but new disciplines are also methodologically integrated into the study of medieval cities, such as the arts of the book, lexicography, geomorphology, and digital instruments.

Contributors include Denise Aigle, Mehrdad Amanat, Jean Aubin, Richard W. Bulliet, Jamsheed K. Choksy, David Durand-Guédy, Etienne de La Vaissière, Majid Montazer Mahdi, Roy P. Mottahedeh, Jürgen Paul, Rocco Rante, Sarah Savant, Ali Shojai Esfahani, Donald Whitcomb and Daniel Zakrzewski.
The Eurasian Heartland, the Silk Roads and Food
Crossroads of Cuisine provides a history of foods, and foodways in terms of exchanges taking place in Central Asia and in surrounding areas such as China, Korea or Iran during the last 5000 years, stressing the manner in which East and West, West and East grew together through food. It provides a discussion of geographical foundations, and an interlocking historical and cultural overview going down to the present day, with a comparative country by country survey of foods and recipes. An ethnographic photo essay embracing all parts of the book binds it all together, and helps make topics discussed vivid and approachable. The book is important for explaining key relationships that have not always been made clear in past scholarship.
Rembrandt: Studies in his Varied Approaches to Italian Art explores his engagement with imagery by Italian masters. His references fall into three categories: pragmatic adaptations, critical commentary, and conceptual rivalry. These are not mutually exclusive but provide a strategy for discussion.

This study also discusses Dutch artists’ attitudes toward traveling south, surveys contemporary literature praising and/or criticizing Rembrandt, and examines his art collection and how he used it. It includes an examination of the vocabulary used by Italians to describe Rembrandt’s art, with a focus on the patron Don Antonio Ruffo, and closes by considering the reception of his works by Italian artists.
A History of Religious Thought in Early Islam
Theology and Society is the most comprehensive study of Islamic intellectual and religious history, focusing on Muslim theology. With its emphasis on the eighth and ninth centuries CE, it remains the most detailed prosopographical study of the early phase of the formation of Islam. Originally published in German between 1991 and 1995, Theology and Society is a monument of scholarship and a unique scholarly enterprise which has stood the test of the time as an unparalleled reference work.

The volume consists of a General Index, an Index of Names, an Index of Works and an Index of Other Sources, and a separate Bibliography.
Eurasian Parallels, Connections and Divergences
The concept, practice, institution and appearance of ‘the state’ have been hotly debated ever since the emergence of history as a discipline within modern scholarship. The field of medieval Islamic history, however, has remained aloof from most of these debates. Rather it tends to take for granted the particularity of dynastic trajectories within only slowly changing bureaucratic contexts. Trajectories of State Formation promotes a more critical and connected understanding of state formation in the late medieval Sultanates of Cairo and of the Timurid, Turkmen and Ottoman dynasties. Projecting seven case studies onto a broad canvas of European and West-Asian research, this volume presents a trans-dynastic reconstruction, interpretation and illustration of statist trajectories across fifteenth century Islamic West-Asia.

Contributors include: Contributors are: Georg Christ, Kristof D’hulster, Jan Dumolyn, Albrecht Fuess, Dimitri J. Kastritsis, Beatrice Forbes Manz, John L. Meloy, Jo Van Steenbergen, and Patrick Wing.
Editor: Gábor Kármán
Tributaries and Peripheries of the Ottoman Empire offers twelve studies on the relationship between Ottoman tributaries with each other in the imperial framework, as well as with neighboring border provinces of the empire’s core territories from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. A variety of surveys related to the Cossack Ukraine, the Crimean Khanate, Dagestan, Moldavia, Ragusa, Transylvania, Upper Hungary and Wallachia allow the reader to see hitherto less known subtleties of the Ottoman administration’s hierarchic structures and the liberties and restrictions of the office-holders’ power. They also shed light upon the strategies of coalition-building among the elites of the tributaries as well as the core provinces of the border zones, which determined their cooperation, but also the competition between them.

Contributors include: János B. Szabó, Ovidiu Cristea, Tetiana Grygorieva, Klára Jakó, Gábor Kármán, Dariusz Kołodziejczyk, Natalia Królikowska-Jedlińska, Erica Mezzoli, Viorel Panaite, Radu G. Păun, Ruža Radoš Ćurić, Balázs Sudár, Michał Wasiucionek.