16 March 2022: Stefanie Brinkmann “Tracing a Forgotten Tradition"

“Tracing a forgotten tradition: Commentaries written on al-Baghawī’s post-canonical hadith collection Maṣābīḥ al-sunna”

On March 16, 2022, Stefanie Brinkmann gave a presentation at the webinar series “Pre-modern Islamic Manuscripts”, organised by the NoMansLand Project at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, PI: Dr. Bruno de Nicola.

Why did certain literatures survive while others fell into oblivion? Much has been written about the erratic transmission of literatures, focusing on reasons for the loss of books and/or different parameters and sources to reconstruct their transmission. In line with these questions, this lecture wants to discuss how we systematically can trace the production and transmission of works, and possibly map their circulation and popularity. It will be illustrated by the case study of the rather forgotten commentary tradition that evolved from al-Ḥusayn b. Masʿūd al-Baghawī’s (d. 516/1122) post-canonical “digest” ḥadīth collection Maṣābīḥ al-sunna. This commentary tradition reached a peak in Mongol and post-Mongol Iran, Iraq, and Azerbaijan, with a limited production in Mamluk Syria, before moving on to the Ottoman Empire. The necessary interplay of different sources and parameters to reconstruct this once vivid commentary tradition shows the potential, but also the challenges for ongoing and future research.

Link to the recorded presentation:

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