Tag Archives: Islamic Studies

Philosophy in the Islamic World

Adamson, Peter. 2016. Philosophy in the Islamic world (A history of philosophy without any gaps 3). Oxford University Press.

A short editorial note: This book offers a very useful overview, as the title suggests, of philosophy in the Islamic world rather than Islamic philosophy as such. To that end, Part II of the book is dedicated to philosophy in Andalusia, including Jewish philosophy. One chapter deals with the so-called translation movement while others discuss Islamic philosophy developed by “Iranian” philosophers in different eras. I can highly recommend this book as an introductory volume to philosophy in the Islamic world.

The latest in the series based on the popular History of Philosophy podcast, this volume presents the first full history of philosophy in the Islamic world for a broad readership. It takes an approach unprecedented among introductions to this subject, by providing full coverage of Jewish and Christian thinkers as well as Muslims, and by taking the story of philosophy from its beginnings in the world of early Islam all the way through to the twentieth century.

Source: Philosophy in the Islamic World – Peter Adamson – Oxford University Press

Memory and Commemoration in Islamic Central Asia

LUCIS 7th Annual Conference: Memory and Commemoration in Islamic Central Asia

Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society

d1180x250The seventh annual conference of LUCIS focuses on Islamic Central Asia, both from a historical and contemporary perspective. Central Asia today is often regarded as a periphery of the Islamic world, but this region with its fluid borders, stretching into present-day Afghanistan, Russia, China, Mongolia, Iran and the Caucasus, has been for a long period the cradle of empires that ruled over large parts of the globe.

Central Asia in the past has been at the heart of the trade network known as the Silk Road, a premodern highway of global interaction. The idea of a New Silk Road today demonstrates Central Asia’s increasing importance as a centre stage of geopolitical interests. Comprehending the complex history of Central Asia by taking into account its dynastic and regional historiographies and more recent nationalistic narratives is crucial for perceiving the current dynamics of this vast region.

Analysing commemorative practices across Central Asia may provide a prolific framework to outline the complexity of its group identities, in modern times often constructed as nationalistic narratives. In this conference we propose to focus on the notion of memory and commemoration in Central Asia from past and present perspectives, in a broad sense, in order to shed light on the complexities of this fascinating and understudied region.

Themes

Rather than focusing on a single period, medium or language of commemorative practices, the conference will take a comparative and connective perspective. Questions that may be addressed include:

  • Narratives: How does literary and artistic production reflect imperial ideology and commemorative culture? How were dynastic members commemorated and rehabilitated? How were genealogies concocted and manipulated in order to commemorate the ancestral origins? How were important events commemorated?
  • Sites:  How were visions of kingship articulated in commemorative dynastic shrines and landscapes across Central Asia? How did religiously diverse commemorative practices contribute to the development of a distinct royal visual morphology? How were urban centres transformed through the diverse visual lexicon of local Islamic cult activities? How are historical shrines and cults commemorated in the present?
  • Religions:  How was commemorative culture influenced by orthodox Islam and Sufism? What was the impact of these complex theological interactions on the intellectual life and artistic production throughout Central Asia? How are religious commemorative practices used in contemporary nationalistic discourses?

The themes of the conference are broad on purpose, as we wish to welcome speakers from different disciplines and backgrounds.

Please find the full programme of the LUCIS annual conference here.

Studia Iranica 45(1)

The first issue of Studia Iranica 45 (2016) has been published. For a table of contents and access to individual articles, see below or visit this page.

7 – 15 – Unité et diversité du rite avestique
KELLENS, Jean
abstract details download pdf
17 – 38 – Zāwulistān, Kāwulistān and the Land Bosi
On the Question of a Sasanian Court-in-Exile in the Southern Hindukush
AGOSTINI, Domenico, STARK, Sören
abstract details download pdf
39 – 52 – A Unique Pahlavi Papyrus from Vienna (P.Pehl. 562)
ZEINI, Arash
abstract details download pdf
53 – 64 – A Pamir Cereal Name in Medieval Greek Sources
WITCZAK, Krzysztof Tomasz, NOVÁK, L’ubomír
abstract details download pdf
65 – 88 – Institutional Metamorphosis or Clerical status quo?
New Insights into the Career and Work of Sayyid Mīr Muḥammad Bāqir Khātūnābādī
MOAZZEN, Maryam
abstract details download pdf
89 – 126 – The Authentic Layout of the Main Avenue of Fin Garden in Kashan
JAYHANI, Hamidreza, REZAEIPOUR, Maryam
abstract details download pdf
In memoriam
129 – 132 – Malek Iradj Mochiri (1927-2015)
GYSELEN, Rika
abstract details download pdf
Comptes rendus
135 – 155 – Comptes rendus abstract details download pdf

Authority and Identity in Medieval Islamic Historiography

Hanaoka, Mimi. 2016. Authority and identity in medieval Islamic historiography: Persian histories from the peripheries. Cambridge University Press.

Intriguing dreams, improbable myths, fanciful genealogies, and suspect etymologies. These were all key elements of the historical texts composed by scholars and bureaucrats on the peripheries of Islamic empires between the tenth and fifteenth centuries. But how are historians to interpret such narratives? And what can these more literary histories tell us about the people who wrote them and the times in which they lived? In this book, Mimi Hanaoka offers an innovative, interdisciplinary method of approaching these sorts of local histories from the Persianate world. By paying attention to the purpose and intention behind a text’s creation, her book highlights the preoccupation with authority to rule and legitimacy within disparate regional, provincial, ethnic, sectarian, ideological and professional communities. By reading these texts in such a way, Hanaoka transforms the literary patterns of these fantastic histories into rich sources of information about identity, rhetoric, authority, legitimacy, and centre-periphery relations.

About the author: Mimi Hanaoka is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Richmond, where she is a scholar of history and religion. Her publications include scholarly journal articles on Persian and Islamic history and historiography. Her work as a social and cultural historian focuses on Iran and the Persianate world from the tenth to fifteenth centuries, concentrating on issues of authority and identity. In the field of global history, she concentrates on interactions between the Middle East and East Asia, focusing on the history of Iran-Japan relations.

Islamisation

Peacock, Andrew (ed.). 2017. Islamisation: Comparative perspectives from history. Edinburgh University Press.

This is a forthcoming volume, scheduled to be published in March 2017.

The spread of Islam and the process of Islamisation (meaning both conversion to Islam and the adoption of Muslim culture) is explored in the 25 chapters of this volume. Taking a comparative perspective, both the historical trajectory of Islamisation and the methodological problems in its study are addressed, with coverage moving from Africa to China and from the 7th century to the start of the colonial period in 1800.

Key questions are addressed including what is meant by Islamisation? How far was the spread of Islam as a religion bound up with the spread of Muslim culture? To what extent are Islamisation and conversion parallel processes? How is Islamisation connected to Arabisation? What role do vernacular Muslim languages play in the promotion of Muslim culture?

The broad, comparative perspective allows readers to develop a thorough understanding of the process of Islamisation over 11 centuries of its history.

The editor: A.C.S. Peacock is Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic History at the University of St Andrews, and holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge. His previous publications include The Great Seljuk Empire (2015) and Early Seljuq History (2010).

Zoroastrianism in the Levant

Abouzayd, Shafiq (ed.). 2014. Zoroastrianism in the Levant: Proceedings of conferences held in 2010 & 2012. ARAM 26(1).

Table of contents:

Patricia Crone: “Pre-existence in Iran: “Zoroastrians, ex-Christians Mu‘tazilites, and Jews on the human acquisition of bodies”

Oktor Skjærvø & Yaakov Elman: “Concepts of pollution in late Sasanian Iran. Does pollution need stairs, and dose it fill space?”

Maria Macuch: “The case against Mār Abā, the Catholicos, in the light of Sasanian law”

Sara Kuehn: “The dragon fighter: The influence of Zoroastrian ideas on Judaeo-Christian and Islamic iconography”

Geoffrey Herman: “Like a slave before his master: A Persian gesture of deference in Sasanian, Jewish, and Christian sources”

Michał Gawlikowski: “Zoroastrian echoes in the Mithraeum at Hawarte, Syria”

Vicente Dobroruka: “Zoroastrian apocalyptic and Hellenistic political propaganda”

Dan D.Y. Shapira: “Pahlavi Fire, Bundahishn 18”

Matteo Compareti: “The representation of Zoroastrian divinities in late Sasanian art and their description according to Avestan literature”

Bahman Moradian: “The day of Mihr, the month of Mihr and the ceremony of Mihrized in Yazd”

Ezio Albrile: “Hypnotica Iranica: Zoroastrian ecstasy in the West”

Andrew D. Magnusson: “On the origins of the prophet Muhammad’s charter to the family of Salman Al-Farisi”

Predrag Bukovec: “The soul’s judgement in Mandaeism: Iranian influences on Mandaean afterlife”

Daphna Arbel: “On human’s elevation, hubris, and fall from glory. Traditions of Yima/Jamshid and Enochmetatron – an indirect cultural dialogue?”

Vicente Dobroruka: “The order of metals in Daniel 2 and in Persian apocalyptic”

Myriam Wissa: “Pre-Islamic topos in Dhu’l-Nūn Al-Misrī’s teaching: A re-assessment of the Egyptian roots of the knowledge of the name of god and their interaction with Zoroastrianism in the Achaemenid period ”

David H. Sick: “The choice of Xerxes: A Zoroastrian interpretation of Herodotus 7.12-18”

Counsel for kings

Marlow, Louise. 2016. Counsel for kings: Wisdom and politics in tenth-century Iran, vol. I & II (Edinburgh Studies in Classical Arabic Literature ). Edinburgh University Press.

Volume I: The Nasihat al-muluk of pseudo-Mawardi: Contexts and themes.

Volume II: The Nasihat al-muluk of pseudo-Mawardi: Texts, sources and authorities.

For the table of contents, see above links.

A textual and contextual study of an early Arabic mirror for princes

Mirrors for princes form a substantial and important genre in many pre-modern literatures. Their ostensible purpose is to advise the king; at the same time they assert that the king, if he is truly virtuous, will appreciate being reminded of the contingency of his power. The unknown author of the Counsel for Kings studied in this book wrote in a distinctive early tenth-century Iranian environment. He deploys an abundant set of cultural materials representing ‘perennial wisdom’ of mixed provenances, which he reinvigorates by applying them to the circumstances of his own time and place.

The first volume situates Counsel for Kings in its historical context. The second volume gives direct access to a substantial portion of the text through translation and commentary.

Key features

  • Integrates the evidence of Counsel for Kings with established materials for the study of Samanid history

  • Demonstrates the interplay of mirrors for princes with other forms of literary expression, such as anthologies of adab, historiographical, theological, philosophical and homiletic writings, encyclopaedic works and poetry

Louise Marlow is Professor of Religion and Program Director for Middle Eastern Studies and Wellesley College.

Iranian Reception of Islam

Crone, Patricia. 2016. The Iranian reception of Islam: The non-traditionalist strands (Islamic History and Civilization 130). Collected Studies in Three Volumes. Vol. 2 edited by Hanna Siurua. Leiden; Boston: Brill.

Patricia Crone’s Collected Studies in Three Volumes brings together a number of her published, unpublished, and revised writings on Near Eastern and Islamic history, arranged around three distinct but interconnected themes. Volume 2, The Iranian Reception of Islam: The Non-Traditionalist Strands, examines the reception of pre-Islamic legacies in Islam, above all that of the Iranians. Volume 1, The Qurʾānic Pagans and Related Matters, pursues the reconstruction of the religious environment in which Islam arose and develops an intertextual approach to studying the Qurʾānic religious milieu. Volume 3, Islam, the Ancient Near East and Varieties of Godlessness, places the rise of Islam in the context of the ancient Near East and investigates sceptical and subversive ideas in the Islamic world.

ToC:

  • 1. Kavād’s heresy and Mazdak’s revolt
  • 2. Zoroastrian communism
  • 3. Khurramīs
  • 4. Muqannaʿ
  • 5. Abū Tammām on the Mubayyiḍa
  • 6. The Muqannaʿ narrative in the Tārīkhnāma: Part I, Introduction, edition and translation
  • 7. The Muqannaʿ narrative in the Tārīkhnāma: Part II, Commentary and analysis
  • 8. Al-Jāḥiẓ on aṣḥāb al-jahālāt and the Jahmiyya
  • 9. Buddhism as ancient Iranian paganism
  • 10. A new text on Ismailism at the Samanid court
  • 11. What was al-Fārābī’s ‘imamic’ constitution?
  • 12. Al-Fārābī’s imperfect constitutions
  • 13. Pre-existence in Iran: Zoroastrians, ex-Christian Muʿtazilites, and Jews on the human acquisition of bodies
  • List of Patricia Crone’s publications

Patricia Crone (1945-2015), Ph.D. (1974), School of Oriental and African Studies, was Professor Emerita at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Her numerous publications include Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam (1987); Pre-Industrial Societies (1989); Medieval Islamic Political Thought (2004); and The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran (2012).

Hanna Siurua (BA, School of Oriental and African Studies; MA, University of Sussex) is a professional editor based in Chicago. She specialises in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies and has edited numerous books and articles in these as well as other fields.

Syriac Historiography

Image from http://www.syri.ac/chronicles

Wood, Philip. Forthcoming. Syriac historiography VI: Historiography in the Syriac-speaking world, 300–1000. In D. King (ed.), Routledge Companion to the Syriac World. Routledge.

Survey of historical writing by and about Syriac-speaking peoples. It aims to lay equal stress on West Syrian and East Syrian contributions. And it emphasises the fact that both groups wrote as subjects of larger imperial systems (Roman, Persian, Arab), of which they were just a part.

This is a draft article posted with the author's permission.

Calendars in Antiquity and the Middle Ages

ERC Project ‘Calendars in Antiquity and the Middle Ages’, Workshop 7


Al-Biruni and his world


15 February 2016

Calendars in Antiquity and the Middle Ages’

Source: ERC Project ‘Calendars in Antiquity and the Middle Ages’, Workshop 7

Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, who flourished at the end of the 10th and the beginning of the 11th century CE, was a famous Central Asian astronomer, mathematician and polymath. His book known in English as “The Chronology of Ancient Nations” is probably the most important book ever on the history of calendars and technical and historical chronology. In our workshop we will be examining different aspects of this work, and also of his great astronomical compendium “al-Qanun al-Mas’udi”.

Continue reading Calendars in Antiquity and the Middle Ages