New Readings in Arabic Historiography from Late Medieval Egypt and Syria

Proceedings of the themed day of the Fifth Conference of the School of Mamluk Studies


The present volume contributes to research on historic Arabic texts from late medieval Egypt and Syria. Departing from dominant understandings of these texts through the prisms of authenticity and “literarization,” it engages with questions of textual constructedness and authorial agency.
It consists of 13 contributions by a new generation of scholars in three parts. Each part represents a different aspect of their new readings of particular texts. Part one looks at concrete instances of textual interdependencies, part two at the creativity of authorial agencies, and part three at the relationship between texts and social practice. New Readings thus participates in the revaluation of late medieval Arabic historiography as a critical field of inquiry.

Contributors: Rasmus Bech Olsen, Víctor de Castro León, Mohammad Gharaibeh, Kenneth A. Goudie, Christian Mauder, Evan Metzger, Zacharie Mochtari de Pierrepont, Clément Onimus, Tarek Sabraa, Iria Santás de Arcos, Gowaart Van Den Bossche, Koby Yosef.
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Jo Van Steenbergen is Professor of Islamic history (UGent, Belgium). His many publications on late medieval Syro-Egyptian history include Caliphate and Kingship (Brill, 2016), Trajectories of State Formation (ed.) (Brill, 2020) and A New History of the Islamic World (Routledge, 2020).

Maya Termonia is Research Associate and Co-ordinator of the Mamlukisation of the Mamluk Sultanate-II and the Islamic History Open Data projects (UGent, Belgium). She is Language Instructor for Egyptian Arabic and Arabic Grammar and a specialist in TAFL methodologies.
List of Figures and Tables
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: History Writing, Adab and Intertextuality in Late Medieval Egypt and Syria: Old and New Readings
Jo Van Steenbergen

Part 1 Literarization as Adabization: Intertextual Agencies

1 Al-Maqrīzī’s Sulūk, Muqaffā, and Durar al-ʿUqūd: Trends of “Literarization” in the Historical Corpus of a 9th/15th-Century Egyptian Shāfiʿī Religious Scholar
Koby Yosef

2 Language and Style in Mamluk Historiography
Koby Yosef

3 Ibn al-Khaṭīb and His Mamluk Reception
Víctor De Castro León

4 Ibn Qāḍī Shuhba (1377–1448): His Life and Historical Work
Tarek Sabraa

5 Andalusi Adab in the Mamluk Period
Iria Santas

Part 2 Literarization as Creative Authorship: Contextual Agencies

6 Social and Intellectual Rivalries and Their Narrative Representations in Biographical Dictionaries: The Representation of Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ—A Case Study
Mohammad Gharaibeh

7 Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī’s Texts and Contexts: Producing a Sufi Environment in the Cairo Sultanate
Zacharie Mochtari de Pierrepont

8 If a Governor Falls in Damascus: Early Mamluk Historiography Analyzed through the Story of Sayf al-Dīn Karāy al-Manṣūrī
Rasmus Bech Olsen

9 Al-ʿAynī and His Fellow Historians: Questioning the Discursive Position of a Historian in the Academic Field in the Cairo Sultanate
Clément Onimus

Part 3 Literarization as Social Practice: Textual Agencies

10 Al-Biqāʿī’s Self-Reflection: A Preliminary Study of the Autobiographical in His ʿUnwān al-Zamān
Kenneth A. Goudie

11 “And They Read in That Night Books of History”: Consuming, Discussing, and Producing Texts about the Past in al-Ghawrī’s Majālis as Social Practices
Christian Mauder

12 Historical Representation as Resurrection: Al-Udfuwī and the Imitation of Allāh
Ivan Metzger

13 Literarisierung Reconsidered in the Context of Sultanic Biography: The Case of Shāfiʿ b. ʿAlī’s Sīrat al-Nāṣir Muḥammad (BnF MS Arabe 1705)
Gowaart Van Den Bossche

All interested in medieval history and Islamic history, especially Mamluk studies, and anyone concerned with historiography and Arabic literature.
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