This massive handbook would not have seen the light of day if we would not have met and collaborated with the former principal investigator of the Courant Research Center “Education and Religion” (EDRIS) Prof. em. Dr. Reinhard Feldmeier (Göttingen). His initiative, creativity and enthusiasm caused us to pursue this long-lasting project that developed into a richer handbook than initially expected. Thus, we owe thousand thanks to Reinhard Feldmeier as well as to all former EDRIS colleagues, some of whom contributed to this volume, for their continuous and immense support with this project. Not to forget the CRC EDRIS and the University of Göttingen for their superb funding and the extra grant we have received from the Excellence Cluster TOPOI (Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt Universität Berlin) for convening the initial conference “Baghdād – Space of Knowledge” in August 2013 (see Figure 0.2). This conference would not have been possible without the organizational support of Monika Winet (Göttingen) and Sandra Feix (Berlin) as well as without the engagement “on the ground” of Javier Francisco (Berlin).
We as editors would also like to thank the contributors to this handbook for their impressive articles and their constructive collaboration in dealing with the extensive editorial interventions they had to face. The more time-consuming these interventions may have been, the more they have improved in our view the quality of this handbook.
Thanks are also due to our dear colleagues Prof. Dr. Beatrice Gruendler (Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Damien Janos (Montreal) for their input on an earlier version of the preface and thematic introduction and to Penelope Krumm (Vienna) for her excellent proof-reading of the entire manuscript.
Moreover, we would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their thoughts and editorial comments as well as the staff at Brill Academic Publishers (Leiden), and in particular Abdurraouf Oueslati, for accepting the manuscript as part of the Handbuch der Orientalistik (HO1) series and for their tremendous support in the production of this volume. Pierke Boschieter, to whom we also want to forward our thanks, prepared the wonderful index.
Finally, we want to express our sincere thanks to our dearest and families for their abiding patience and support over the past years, whenever “Baghdād” pushed aside more personal matters.