Editors: Meir Hatina and Yona Scheffer
Cultural Pearls from the East offers fascinating insights into Muslim-Arab culture and the evolution of its intellectual nature and literary texts from early Islam to modern times. The textual analysis of largely unexplored literary works and chronicles that epitomize this volume highlight the affinity between culture, society, and politics, exploring these issues from both thematic and comparative perspectives. Among the topics examined in depth: Arabic poetry of warfare at the dawn of Islam; medieval poems about venerated sites and saints; Ottoman and Egyptian chronicles portraying the socioreligious landscapes of Egypt and the Fertile Crescent under the Ottoman Empire and in the shadow of growing European encroachment; and Arab-Jewish literature dealing with suppression, exile, and identity.

Contributors: Ghaleb Anabseh, Albert Arazi, Meir M. Bar-Asher, Peter Chelkowski, Geula Elimelekh, Sigal Goorj, Jane Hathaway, Meir Hatina, Yair Huri-Horesh, Amir Lerner, Menachem Milson, Gabriel M. Rosenbaum, Joseph Sadan, Yona Sheffer, Norman (Noam) A. Stillman, Ibrahim Taha, Michael Winter, Eman Younis
In the bilingual English-Arabic work, The Oral Art of Soqoṭra: A Collection of Island Voices, Miranda Morris and Ṭānuf Sālim Di-Kišin, in collaboration with Soqoṭrans from all parts of the island, present over a thousand examples of poems and songs, prayers, lullabies, work-chants, messages in code, riddles, examples of community wisdom encapsulated in poetic couplets, and stories centred on a short poem or exchange of poems. These were documented by oral transmission directly to the authors, or through recordings collected by them. They are presented in Soqoṭri (transcribed phonetically in Roman and in Arabic script), and in English and Arabic translation.

في هذا الكتاب، الفن الشفاهي من سقطرى: مجموعة من أصوات الجزيرة، باللغتين الانجليزية والعربية، يقدم المؤلفان ميراندا موريس وطانف سالم دكشن أكثر من ألف قصيدة وأنشودة ودعاء وتهليل وأغنية عمل ورسالة مشفرة ولغز ومثل من الحكمة الاجتماعية مغلفة في أبيات شعرية وقصة متمحورة حول قصيدة قصيرة أو تبادل قصائد. تم توثيق هذا الرصيد من خلال النقل الشفاهي المباشر إلى المؤلفين أو عن طريق تسجيلات صوتية تم جمعها من قبلهما. هذا الكتاب يعرض هذا الفن الشفاهي باللغة السقطرية (وتم تدوينه بالأحرف اللاتينية والعربية طبق قواعد علم الصوتيات)، إلى جانب ترجمة انجليزية وعربية.
Muḥammad ibn Ḥabīb (d. 860), a specialist in Arab history, tribal genealogy, and poetry, who lived in Baghdad, collected in his Prominent Murder Victims many stories of murderers and murder victims from the legendary pre-Islamic past, such as how Bilqīs, the Arabic name for the Queen of Sheba, came to power, to the assassinations ordered by viziers or caliphs in the early Islamic centuries. A lengthy appendix deals with poets from pre- and early Islamic times who were killed. The stories are entertaining as well as informative. Strikingly, the author refrains from explicit moralising. The present book offers a richly annotated English translation together with an improved Arabic text and indexes of persons, places, and rhymes.
Volume Editors: Sergey Minov and Flavia Ruani
Chapters gathered in Syriac Hagiography: Texts and Beyond explore a wide range of Syriac hagiographical works, while following two complementary methodological approaches, i.e. literary and cultic, or formal and functional. Grouped into three main sections, these contributions reflect three interrelated ways in which we can read Syriac hagiography and further grasp its characteristics: “Texts as Literature” seeks to unfold the mechanisms of their literary composition; “Saints Textualized” offers a different perspective on the role played by hagiographical texts in the invention and/or maintenance of the cult of a particular saint or group of saints; “Beyond the Texts” presents cases in which the historical reality behind the nexus of hagiographical texts and veneration of saints can be observed in greater details.
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 annotated edition of the text and the corresponding English translation are meticulous and insightful. This scholarly study makes available to readers an important branch in the genealogical tree of the Buddha Biographies.

Abstract

This essay explores a number of texts of the exophonic, or non-native literary production, respectively in Italian and German, of translingual authors Jhumpa Lahiri and Yoko Tawada. While the paper looks at how their dominant languages, respectively English and Japanese, continue to play a role in these writers’ non-native production, it focuses on the different approaches the two authors adopt to translingualism and the “linguistic family romance” metaphor, which they equally employ in highly imaginative ways in order to address both their condition of rootlessness and their attitudes to the notion of “mother tongue.” The essay argues that while Lahiri seems to remain a writer that does not contaminate languages (she is a writer in English, a writer in Italian, and a translator of Italian literature into English), Tawada brings German and Japanese together and dwells on the space of contamination between them in her production in German (and Japanese).

In: Journal of World Literature
In: Arabica
In: Arabica
Author: Allaoua Amara

Résumé

La présente note est consacrée à la présentation d’un dictionnaire hagiographique, relatif aux saints de la vallée de Chélif, située dans le Maghreb central, à la fin du Moyen Âge, récemment publié en Algérie. Il s’agit de l’abrégé de Dībāǧat al-iftiḫār fī manāqib awliyāʾ Allāh al-aḫyār de Mūsā b. ʿĪsā l-Māzūnī (m. vers 833/1430), dont la seule copie manuscrite a fait l’objet de trois éditions entre 2015 et 2017. Sont traités l’identification de l’auteur, le titre de l’ouvrage, le contexte de composition et le contenu général. Des remarques critiques concernant les trois éditions sont également rapportées dans cette note.

In: Arabica
Author: Marcella Rubino

Résumé

Depuis l’affaire de la censure du roman Awlād ḥāratinā (Les fils de la médina) de Naǧīb Maḥfūẓ, publié en 1968, aucun roman n’avait suscité autant de polémiques en Égypte que le roman historique de Yūsuf Zaydān ʿAzāzīl, paru en 2008. Centré sur l’histoire du christianisme égyptien et oriental au IV e siècle, le roman aborde notamment les questions des querelles christologiques entre les Églises d’Orient et de la violence perpétrée à l’égard des derniers représentants du paganisme dans un empire où le christianisme est désormais la religion officielle. La réaction la plus virulente est celle de l’Église copte, qui voit ses symboles sacrés mis en cause par le roman. Les milieux littéraires égyptiens mettent en doute l’authenticité de l’écriture de Yūsuf Zaydān et lui reprochent d’être un romancier commercial et opportuniste. Le présent article vise à analyser les enjeux des différentes critiques faites à cette œuvre.

In: Arabica

Abstract

Did Faḫr al-Dīn al-Rāzī complete his great Koranic commentary? Scholars have suggested that al-Rāzī’s disciple Šams al-Dīn al-Ḫuwayyī may have contributed to the final tafsīr, but were unable to come to any definitive conclusions, partly because they had no tafsīr by al-Ḫuwayyī that could be used for comparison. In fact, we know of two commentaries of al-Ḫuwayyī: a section of his encyclopedia which displays explorations into seven selected suwar, and some snippets of a different tafsīr that are preserved by al-Suyūṭī. These two important sources are described in this notice. We also briefly mention some first-hand encounters of al-Ḫuwayyī with his master al-Rāzī, as they are reported in the former’s encyclopedia.

In: Arabica
Author: Mathieu Tillier

Résumé

L’envoi de délégations (wafds) par des groupes vers le souverain est généralement associé à la politique du Prophète et des premiers califes, notamment Muʿāwiya (r. 41/661-60/680). En s’appuyant sur l’exemple des délégations égyptiennes auprès du pouvoir impérial aux trois premiers siècles de l’Islam, le présent article montre non seulement que le phénomène des délégations continua bien au-delà de l’époque sufyānide, mais que leur composition reflète l’évolution des dominations sociopolitiques à Fusṭāṭ. Souvent envoyées par le gouverneur, et constituées d’élites civiles et militaires, ces délégations représentaient la population de la capitale provinciale et maintenaient un lien direct entre celle-ci et le calife.

In: Arabica
Author: Adam Bursi

Abstract

Within some of the earliest textual and material evidence for the history of Islam, pilgrimage appears as an important ritual of devotion, identity, and community. Yet modern scholarship has given little attention to early Muslims’ sensory experiences of pilgrimage sites and what they physically encountered while there. This article examines the importance of smell within Islamic pilgrimage practices of the first/seventh and second/eighth centuries. Drawing upon literary and material evidence, I reconstruct several olfactory components of pilgrimage in this period, including intensive usage of perfume and incense at pilgrimage destinations such as the Kaʿba and the Dome of the Rock, as well as pilgrims’ collection and ingestion of scented materials from these locations. I then argue that the prominence of pleasing aromas at these sacred spaces is connecting to early Islamic ideas about the proximity of paradise to these pilgrimage sites.

In: Arabica
Author: Islam Youssef

Abstract

This article investigates the phonological patternings in the speech of il-Limbi, an immensely popular character in Egyptian comedy; and it stands therefore at a crossroads between cultural studies and linguistics. Il-Limbi represents the urban working classes, and his speech often mocks social conventions through ludicrous parody of educated speech. Masquerading as socially superior personas, his speech highlights the diglossic situation in Egypt as well as the pretentious use of English into the elite register. My examination of il-Limbi’s pronunciation in four movies reveals a number of systematic patterns in both consonants and vowels, which construct a unique code. This code is based partly on exaggerated features of Cairene Arabic and partly on genuine features of illiterate, lower-class vernacular. And it is often the interplay between various registers via correspondence rules that creates humor in the films.

In: Arabica
In: The Prince and the Sufi