The Judeo-Persian Rendition of the Buddha Biographies
The Prince and the Sufi is the literary composition of the seventeenth-century Judeo-Persian poet Elisha ben Shmūel. In The Prince and the Sufi: The Judeo-Persian Rendition of the Buddha Biographies, Dalia Yasharpour provides a thorough analysis of this popular work to show how the Buddha's life story has undergone substantial transformation with the use of Jewish, Judeo-Persian and Persian-Islamic sources. The complete annotated edition of the text and the corresponding English translation are thorough and insightful. This scholarly study makes available to readers an important branch in the genealogical tree of the Buddha Biographies.
Author: Li Guo
This handbook aims mainly at an analytical documentation of all the known textual remnants and the preserved artifacts of Arabic shadow theatre, a long-lived, and still living, tradition — from the earliest sightings in the tenth century to the turn of the twentieth century. The book consists of three main parts and a cluster of appendixes. Part One presents a history of Arab shadow theatre through a survey of medieval and premodern accounts and modern scholarship on the subject. Part Two takes stock of primary sources (manuscripts), published studies, and the current knowledge of various aspects of Arabic shadow theatre: language, style, terminology, and performance. Part Three offers an inventory of all known Arabic shadow plays. The documentation is based on manuscripts (largely unpublished), printed texts (scripts, excerpts), academic studies (in Arabic and Western languages), journalist reportage, and shadow play artifacts from collections worldwide.
Portrait of an Eighth-Century Gentleman. Khālid ibn Ṣafwān in History and Literature by Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila is an in-depth study of the eighth-century Umayyad and early Abbasid orator and courtier Khālid ibn Ṣafwān and the development of his character in adab literature. The book collects and translates all his sayings and stories about him culled from a wide range of Arabic and Persian texts.

In the book, Hämeen-Anttila studies the mechanisms of change in early narratives, showing how Arabic anecdotes developed and were modified by a series of authors during both their oral and literary transmission, changing a historical person into a literary character. Detailed chapters discuss Khālid in his various roles and analyse the literary techniques of the stories.

Abstract

Persian narrative sources provide a colorful picture of Mughal courtly life, but in order to zoom in on cultural practices one has to turn to the artefacts of cultural pursuits. This article studies one specimen of the empirical treasure trove of Arabic manuscripts in South Asia in order to approach a lacuna in Mughal scholarship: the role of Arabic at the Mughal court. In the following, I will analyze the different paratextual layers of a manuscript of the thirteenth century Arabic grammar commentary Sharḥ al-Radī by Radī al-Dīn al-Astarābādhī to study its reading and transmission. The manuscript version represents a written artefact, which emerged out of a series of intellectual engagements. On the one hand, these textual engagements offer a perspective on the manuscript’s initial owner, Saʿd Allāh Khān (d. 1656), and his intellectual pursuits, as well as the scholarly framework in which he was brought up and worked in. On the other hand, the history of this manuscript’s circulation highlights the treatment of Arabic written artefacts at Shāh Jahān’s court. In an exemplary manner, the manuscript’s history of circulation demonstrates how courtly elites engaged with Arabic during the seventeenth century.

In: Philological Encounters
Author: Avi-ram Tzoreff

Abstract

The discourse about the Arabian Nights illustrates the ways through which hegemonic poetic and literary discourses crystallized themselves, while developing a set of distinctions as a yardstick for the estimation of literary works, as well as the connections between these various distinctions—namely ‘realistic’ and ‘fantastic’, East and West, and oral storytelling and folklore versus written literature. This article focuses on the discourse about the Arabian Nights in the field of modern Hebrew literature. In turning towards the collection, discussing it and translating some of its sections, the various characters who dealt with it expressed and promoted a cultural and political narrative which saw cultural affinities as a potential basis for broader political cooperation between Arabs and Jews. I will argue, however, that the discourse about the collection illustrates a process of modern Hebrew literature adopting a definition of itself as European and secular literature. I will also argue that the discourse on the Arabian Nights reveals the various directions taken by those who resisted the construal of modern Hebrew literature as a vector in the European- secular tradition. These counter-hegemonic assertions particularly took the form of arguments that the collection was a multifaceted cultural treasure that includes Hebrew layers, or, alternatively, representing it as a model of a modern literary genre, the city-centered anthology.

In: Philological Encounters
In The Semantics of Qurʾanic Language: al-Āḫira, Ghassan el Masri offers a semantic study of the concept al-āḫira ‘the End’ in the Qurʾān. The study is prefaced with a detailed account of the late antique concept of etymologia (Semantic Etymology). In his work, he demonstrates the necessity of this concept for appreciating the Qurʾān’s rhetorical strategies for claiming discursive authority in the Abrahamic theological tradition. The author applies the etymological tool to his investigation of the theological significance of al-āḫira, and concludes that the concept is polysemous, and tolerates a large variety of interpretations. The work is unique in that it draws extensively on Biblical material and presents a plethora of pre-Islamic poetry verses in the analysis of the concept.
In: The Semantics of Qurʾanic Language: al-Āḫira
In: The Semantics of Qurʾanic Language: al-Āḫira
In: The Semantics of Qurʾanic Language: al-Āḫira
In: The Semantics of Qurʾanic Language: al-Āḫira