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Arabic and Multilingual Texts from Early Islam
New Frontiers of Arabic Papyrology contains research presented at the 5th congress of the International Society for Arabic Papyrology (ISAP) held in Tunis in 2012. Like previous ISAP volumes, this one focuses on the transformative era of the Islamic conquests, although some of the articles treat later periods. The volume contains articles relevant to Arabic, Coptic, and Greek papyrology. There is also work on folk religion, astronomy, and epigraphy.

Contributors: Lotfi Abdeljaouad, Lajos Berkes, Ursula Bsees, Janneke de Jong, Manabu Kameya, Marie Legendre, Matt Malczycki, Tonio Sebastian Richter, Johannes Thomann, Khaled Younes
Winner of the 2016 Conover-Porter Award. The prize is awarded by the African Studies Association (ASA) to Outstanding Africa-related reference works, bibliographies or bibliographic essays published in any country, separately or as part of a larger work.

The Writings of Mauritania and the Western Sahara compiles 300 years of literary production, in excess of 10,000 titles by over 1800 authors,who document a vibrant Islamic culture and educational system in a Bedouin society lacking any overarching state. This contradicts our received wisdom about the nature of high Islamic scholarship, and it offers insights into complicated relationships between the authority of the Word and quotidian life in nomadic society. Biographical profiles of the writers and analyses of significant works tell a story of the organic growth of a Saharan scholarly tradition, linked but largely independent of the heartlands, original in its Hassaniyya verse and extensive legal literature, deeply rooted in its Islamic culture.
The Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences ‒ established in 1826 ‒ houses many small and still hidden collections. One of these, the most comprehensive Hungarian collection of Arabic manuscripts, is brought to light by the present catalogue. These codices are described for the first time in a detailed and systematic way. A substantial part of the manuscripts is either dated to or preserved from the 150 year period of Ottoman occupation in Hungary. The highlights of the collection are from the Mamluk era, and the manuscripts as a whole present a clear picture of the curriculum of Islamic education. The descriptions also give an overview of the many additional Turkish and Persian texts thereby adding to our knowledge about the history of these volumes.
The Yemeni Manuscript Tradition contributes to the study of the manuscript codex and its role in scholastic culture in Yemen. Ranging in period from Islam’s first century to the modern period, all the articles in this volume emerge from the close scrutiny of the manuscripts of Yemen. As a group, these studies demonstrate the range and richness of scholarly methods closely tied to the material text, and the importance of cross-pollination in the fields of codicology, textual criticism, and social and intellectual history.

Contributors are: Hassan Ansari, Menashe Anzi, Asma Hilali, Kerstin Hünefeld, Wilferd Madelung, Arianna D’Ottone, Christoph Rauch, Anne Regourd, Sabine Schmidtke, Gregor Schwarb and Jan Thiele.
Critical Edition of Makārim al-akhlāq wa-maḥāsin al-ādāb wa-badāʾiʿ al-awṣāf wa-gharāʾib al-tashbīhāt, Attributed to Abū Manṣūr al-Thaʿālibī (d. 429/1039)
This critical Arabic text edition of K. Makārim al-akhlāq wa-maḥāsin al-ādāb wa-badāʾiʿ al-awṣāf wa-gharāʾib al-tashbīhāt( Book of Noble Character, Excellent Conduct, Admirable Descriptions, and Curious Similes) is a substantial work of adab attributed to the prominent littérateur Abū Manṣūr al-Thaʿālibī (d. 429/1039) that consists of a short introduction and three chapters. The first chapter addresses acquiring noble character and excellent conduct ( al-taḥallī bi-makārim al-akhlāq wa-maḥāsin al-ādāb); the second addresses shunning away from base character and ugly traits ( al-tazakkī ʿan masāwiʾ al-akhlāq wa-maqābiḥ al-shiyam); and the third addresses admirable descriptions and curious similes ( badāʾiʿ al-awṣāf wa-gharāʾib al-tashbīhāt). At the end of the text one finds a relatively large collection of widely circulating proverbs ( amthāl sāʾira) that are alphabetically arranged. Makārim al-akhlāq is in essence an anthology of “good conduct” and of quotations suitable for social and literary discourse. It reflects the three ingredients of adab: behavior, literary culture, and learning. The work is introduced by an analytical study discussing the attribution of the work, the related genres, and the unique manuscript of the text.
The Prophet Muḥammad’s Nocturnal Journey to Heaven and Hell. Text and Translation of Cod. Or. 1713 in the Library of Leiden University
Texts about the nocturnal journey of the Prophet Muḥammad (Mi‘rāj) abound in the Muslim world and outside. International attention has never been afforded to any version of text in any language of the Indonesian archipelago. One old version of the text from the area, the Malay Hikayat Mir’āj Nabi Muḥammad is presented here in Malay and English translation. The introductory chapters place the text in a wider context in Indonesian literatures while the manuscript of the text (Cod.Or. Leiden 1713) is described in detail. The text and translation purport to enhance interest in this important text in the Muslim world as seen from the Malay/Indonesian perspective.
A Short History in Portraits, 1580–1950
Arabic is the only living language to have been taught in Dutch higher education for more than four centuries. Practical usefulness, however, has been a prerequisite from the start. Knowledge of Arabic was to promote Dutch interests in the Muslim world, or to help refute Islam. As a cognate of Classical Hebrew, the study of Arabic served as an ancillary science to Biblical studies. Nevertheless, many Arabists such as Thomas Erpenius and Jacobus Golius rose to international distinction. With more than 110 colour illustrations from the Leiden Oriental collections, Arabic Studies in the Netherlands. A Short History in Portraits, 1580-1950 by Arnoud Vrolijk and Richard van Leeuwen will help the reader to gain insight into a fascinating aspect of Dutch intellectual history.
Critical Edition, Translation, and Study of Manuscript 4752 of the Ḥasaniyya Library in Rabat Containing 77 Taqādīm (“Appointments”)
In this book, Pascal Buresi and Hicham El Aallaoui edit, translate, and study an Arabic manuscript of the Royal Library of Rabat, containing 77 appointments of provincial officials. The Almohad Caliphs were the first Berbers to unite the whole Maghrib and the Iberian Peninsula under an imperial ideology elaborated at the end of the 12th C.E. by the most famous scholars, such as Averroes.
This peripheral Islamic dynasty produced a pragmatic documentation that provides exceptional information about the administrative, political, ideological, and religious organisation of the largest medieval European-African Empire. Buresi and El Aallaoui convincingly stress the importance of the literature of the Chancellery in renewing the history of power and authority in medieval Islamic lands.