Only recently, I finished reading Nelly Hanna’s 2004 monograph “In Praise of Books”. Honestly, while the book raises some interesting questions, it has not aged all that well. But first, what is it about? It is less about the books mentioned in the title and more about “A cultural History of Cairo’s Middle Class, Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century” as the subtitle clarifies. In this context, Hanna argues that the written word became more important than it was before, and that it now began to … Continue reading A note on Nelly Hanna’s “In Praise of Books”
Kategorie: Orient-Institut Beirut
Over the last year, Ibn Ṭūlūn’s documentation of teaching has repeatedly been addressed here. According to my own plan, this will be the last post on this issue for the foreseeable future. Thus, I would like to use this post to talk about some more general characteristics of these documentary texts. Once before, the difference between ijāzas and samāʿāt in this corpus has been discussed (Link). Now it is finally time to give the ijāzas a more structured treatment as the samāʿāt received back then. … Continue reading The Princeton ijāzas
NEW RESEARCH PROJECT: Relations in the Ideoscape: Middle Eastern Students in the Eastern Bloc (1950s to 1991)
The political post-war order in the wake of the Second World War, the division of the world into the so-called Western powers led by the USA and the so-called Eastern Bloc led by the Soviet Union can also be seen … Continue reading →
Finally, Mamluk Studies 15: “Mamluk Historiography Revisited – Narratological Perspectives” is out. The edited volume brings together twelve articles on perspectives on specific works or larger clusters of works. My own contribution, “The Changing Legacy of a Sufi Shaykh: Narrative Constructions in Diaries, Chronicles, and Biographies (15th–17th Centuries)”, investigates the development of how knowledge on one specific person was shaped and adapted with growing temporal distance. The person in question was introduced here in several posts during February 2018: Mubārak al-Qābūnī al-Ḥabashī. The article adds … Continue reading New Publication on Narratology in Arabic Historiography
As I have indicated before, the age when Ibn Tulun was most widely read might well have been the early 20th century. Ahmad Taymur had copies and photographic reproductions made of several of his works, and historians like ʿIsa Iskandar al-Maʿluf and Salah al-Din al-Munajjid also collected his works. Al-Munajjid also edited several texts within the series Rasaʾil al-Tarikhiyya. And finally, both him as well as others described and discussed Ibn Tulun’s works in the pages of the central organ of Syrian or even Arab … Continue reading Placing Ibn Tulun: Evidence from the Majallat al-Majmaʿ al-ʿilmi al-ʿarabi
To be frank, there was something wrong with the visualizations in the last post, and I did not feel like letting that stand. Thus, here I address some of those issues. This is how the network should look or, at least, the main cluster of it. In the last post, I stated that some grammatical as well as the mathematical disciplines were not connected to the main cluster and that turned out to be wrong. But since they are indeed connected, everything gets – … Continue reading Visualizing Education and Knowledge Organization with Palladio 2
After having looked at Ḥadīth transmission recently, I wondered about the other side of knowledge transmission, namely the wider curriculum of the ʿulamāʾ. Thankfully, Ibn Ṭūlūn talks at length about his own education in his autobio/-bibliography al-Fulk al-mashḥūn. There he lists ḥadīth studies and 25 other disciplines. In total, works relevant to 27 disciplines appear (ʿilm al-qiraʾāt is not listed but works are mentioned). Ibn Ṭūlūn received their information through 104 named and two unnamed interlocutors (one “shaykh” and “some Nīsabūrīs”). There are 109 works … Continue reading Visualizing Education and Knowledge Organization with Palladio 1
By Joseph Ben Prestel During the 1970s, ties with Palestinian groups occupied a prominent place in activities of the West German radical left. An increasing criticism of Israel along with…
Perhaps more than any other area of permodern Arabic literature, genres concerned with ḥadīth transmission offer themselves for a network approach. Even small collections provide a plethora of names and put them in relation to each other. Someone hears one tradition from someone and then relates it to someone else, thereby turning from a “target” in one relation to a “source” in the next. While the individual chain of transmission might only give diachronic relations, a survey of a larger number of chains might also … Continue reading Visualizing female actors in Hadith networks with Palladio
And now, to something completely different: the bicycle in Middle Eastern History. Whereas today the bicycle is – arguably – mostly known as a vehicle for leisure, around 1900 it was not only a major means of individualized transportation but it also stipulated the restoration and expansion of road networks that would make the automobile viable, and bicycle races inspired public attention and drew crowds that today seem unimaginable. Moreover, this early history of the bicycle is intricately connected to histories of colonialism, modernity, and … Continue reading Into a bicycle history of the Middle East
How many manuscript copies were produced of any given texts? How many were circulating at any given time? When were they lost, discarded or destroyed? How often are the works penned on their pages cited in other texts by the same or different authors? These questions lie at the very heart of our epistemology and are usually subsumed under the term ‘survival bias’. Works that survive longer obviously have a greater chance at being read, recited, reproduced, acknowledged. And it is today commonly assumed … Continue reading Let’s talk survival bias
It has been a while since I presented my first visualizations of Ibn Tuluns manuscript corpus with Palladio. Palladio is an easy-to-learn tool that works in your browser and thus is independent of your operating system. You just put your data in several simple tables and upload them there. Then you create the relevant connections between the tables in the interface. Basically, all you need is one table for the entities to be connected (nodes) and one for the connections between them (edges). Also, … Continue reading Visualizing Ibn Tulun’s manuscript corpus: (1) From Palladio towards Gephi
Akmal al-Dīn, a scion of the prominent Ḥanbalī Ibn Mufliḥ family, was mentioned here several times before and was probably the most visible of Ibn Ṭūlūn’s students in terms of engagement with his writings. Ibn Mufliḥ copied them, annotated and rubricated them, and also added material to some of them. Among the evidence of their student-teacher relationship survives an ijāza Ibn Ṭūlūn penned for Ibn Mufliḥ after the latter’s discussion of some chains of transmission he had received from him (for the transcripts, see … Continue reading An ijāza for Ibn Mufliḥ
Europa und der Nahe Osten haben sich auseinander entwickelt – Das OI Beirut vermittelt in die Gesellschaften
Geisteswissenschaft als Beruf im Ausland – Was kann man sich darunter vorstellen? In „Weltweit vor Ort“, dem Magazin der MWS, geben Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler einen Einblick in das spannende Arbeitsfeld der internationalen geisteswissenschaftlichen Forschung. Im Gespräch stellt Birgit Schäbler, seit Oktober 2017 Direktorin des Orient-Instituts Beirut, sich als neue Direktorin sowie ihre Pläne für die zukünftige Ausrichtung des Instituts vor.
Almost a year ago, I first wrote about Ibn Ṭūlūn’s teaching certificates (ijāzāt) and made a somewhat loose promise: I could identify five teaching certificates (ijāza) in Ibn Ṭūlūn’s handwriting. The four I have seen are between two and five pages long and were all written between 922/1516 and 943/1536. I hope to present all of them here in the near future. In the meantime, one more item has received an entry and in March 2018 I finally got my hands on the final … Continue reading Ijāzas or Samāʿāt?
On 24 and 25 April 2018, David Wrisley organised a workshop on “Textual Analysis Using Stylometry” at the american University of Beirut. The workshop was given by Maciej Eder, an Associate Professor at the Institute of Polish Students at the Pedagogical University of Krakow, Poland, and and at the Institute of Polish Language at the Polish Academy of Sciences. For those who are not familiar with the term stylometry (as was I before the workshop), it is a method of textual analysis that does not focus on … Continue reading Thoughts after Workshop: Textual Analysis Using Stylometry (AUB, 24-25 April)
Geisteswissenschaft als Beruf im Ausland – Was kann man sich darunter vorstellen? In „Weltweit vor Ort“, dem Magazin der MWS, geben Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler einen Einblick in das spannende Arbeitsfeld der internationalen geisteswissenschaftlichen Forschung. Die aktuelle Ausgabe widmet sich dem Thema „Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft“.