To know a culture, is to know its written tradition. Before the coming of the printing press, books were transmitted in manuscript form. When texts started to get printed rather than copied, earlier works that until then had only existed in manuscript, came to be printed too. Until the early nineteenth century, a fair copy of a handwritten text would be all that was needed to turn an older work into a printed book. Today, all this has changed and most ancient texts are now published on the basis of a commonly accepted methodology. In the Islamic world, where we have thousands of works in manuscript that still await a proper edition, these modern methods are not always accessible to local scholars and uncritical editions still abound. This Persian guide to the publication of manuscripts is meant to change that situation. As such, it is an important statement on the advances in scholarship in Iran.
Dar maʿrifat u waʿẓ u akhlāq
Abū Muḥammad ʿAbdallāh Qalānisī
Edited by ʿĀrif Nūshāhī
According to Majid Fakhry, ethical theories in Islam may be divided into four categories: 1. scriptural morality (moral precepts and judgments from the Qurʾān and the Traditions); 2. theological theories (rationalist interpretations of scriptural morality based on philosophical or theological methods and categories developed in the eighth and ninth centuries); 3. philosophical theories (ultimately relying on Greek sources, mainly Plato and Aristotle in neo-Platonic interpretations); 4. religious theories (based on the Qurʾānic view of man and his position in the universe, and differing from theological theories in that they were not dialectical, not polemical, and more concerned with moral theory than with questions of methodology). The present work comes under the last category, to which it adds an element of mysticism. Besides the more general sources and authorities, it also refers to scholars and mystics from Transoxania specifically, the work having been written there in the early 6th/12th century. Contains word material from that region.