Latest Publications

Verena Klemm: Notes About Notes: A 19th Century Ismaʿili Personal Manuscript From India

In this blogpost, Professor Verena Klemm browses through a unique personal manuscript belonging to the eminent Ismaʿili scholar Sayyidī Muḥammad ʿAlī al-Hamdānī (1249–1315 AH / 1833–1898 CE), a prominent member of the Daʾudi Ṭayyibī Bohras. 

Verena Klemm: Notes About Notes: A 19th Century Ismaʿili Personal Manuscript From India

https://globalcommentary.utoronto.ca/?p=2651

In this blogpost, Prof. Klemm browses through a unique personal manuscript belonging to the eminent Ismaʿili scholar Sayyidī Muḥammad ʿAlī al-Hamdānī (1249–1315 AH / 1833–1898 CE).

 

Boris Liebrenz: "The Sciences in Two Private Libraries From Ottoman Syria," in: Routledge Handbook on the Sciences in Islamicate Societies, ed. Sonja Brentjes (London: Routledge, 2022), 787-797.

https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781315170718-70/sciences-two-private-libraries-ottoman-syria-1-boris-liebrenz

This chapter compares the holdings of scientific books in two private libraries of the 12th/18th century, one owned by a family of Muslim scholars in Damascus and the other founded and developed by a family of Christian physicians in Aleppo. It reflects on the overlap, similarities and differences between the two collections. In doing so, this chapter introduces a history of the book approach to the study of scientific literature, one that is not mainly concerned with ideal audiences and the intentions of authors but also with discovering the actual people with a documented interest in specific works.

Nadine Löhr: Off the Record - On Studying Lost Arabic Books and their Networks

 PDF Icon  Off the Record: On Studying Lost Arabic Books and their Networks (2.25 MB)

S.  219 - 245
doi:10.1553/medievalworlds_no18_2023s219
Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

Abstract:
In this paper we discuss the notion of Arabic literary works which, to the best of our knowledge, have been lost over the course of history. We examine factors contributing to the likelihood of transmission, address current interdisciplinary debates, and discuss digital tools applied to estimating the loss of literary heritage or to retrieving information on lost works. Our aim is to highlight the potential that bio-bibliographical works hold for the study of lost texts and manuscripts. Three possibilities are presented for studying lost books mentioned in Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa’s History of Physicians (ʿUyūn al-anbā ̉ fī ṭabaqāt al-aṭibbā ̉), and these include the identification of lost works in bio-bibliografical reference works, the encoding of attestations for manuscripts written by the authors themselves, and the reconstruction of scholarly networks which contributed to a certain lost work. The examples discussed demonstrate the advantages prosopographical networks can offer if they include works and manuscripts. Therefore, we put a particular focus on the use of machine-readable assertions which involves encoding the claims and statements from primary sources in a format that enables computer systems to process and analyse them.

Daniel Kinitz/Thomas Efer: Towards a Dynamic Knowledge Graph of a Non-Western Book Tradition

Introduction: How can we generate and integrate data on a pre-modern, Arabic book tradition in such a way that research can gain new insights? Within the long-term project “Bibliotheca Arabica” [Brinkmann/Löhr 2021], we are creating an agile knowledge graph integrating a wide range of data on (handwritten) Arabic manuscripts and their historical context. Our aim is to create a digital research environment to investigate the production, transmission and reception of Arabic manuscripts and their social environment as clusters of linked entities: scholars linked to works with students as readers, reproduced by scribes in manuscripts, linked by ownership notes and combined to historical libraries, etc.

Daniel Kinitz/Thomas Efer (2023): Towards a Dynamic Knowledge Graph of a Non-Western Book Tradition
in: Baillot, A. / Scholger, W. / Tasovac, T. / Vogeler, G. / Raunig, E. / Scholger, M. / Steiner, E. (eds.). Digital Humanities 2023: Book of Abstracts. Graz 2023. DOI: 10.5281, https://zenodo.org/record/7961822, pp.216-217.

Tariq Yousef/ Daniel Kinitz : Similarity-Based Clustering of Pre-Modern Arabic Names

Introduction: Data repositories must manage the identity of their entities. In the case of intellectual history, the challenge lies in premodern, and therefore non-standardised entity names. Our use case deals with Arabic persons related manuscripts (scholars, scribes, etc.). Thus, multiple occurrences of the same person with different spellings and name compositions must be identified and disambiguated. This paper presents a graph clustering approach that combines literal and numerical properties (name and year of event) with promising results. The particular challenge lies in the vast variability of name variants and sometimes unspecific dates.

Tariq Yousef/ Daniel Kinitz (2023): Similarity-Based Clustering of Pre-Modern Arabic Names
in: Baillot, A. / Scholger, W. / Tasovac, T. / Vogeler, G. / Raunig, E. / Scholger, M. / Steiner, E. (eds.). Digital Humanities 2023: Book of Abstracts. Graz 2023. DOI: 10.5281, https://zenodo.org/record/7961822, pp.194-195.

Blecher, Joel and Brinkmann, Stefanie (eds.): "Hadith Commentary. Continuity and Change"

Blecher, Joel and Brinkmann, Stefanie (eds.): Hadith Commentary. Continuity and Change, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 2023.

Hadith commentary has been a central site of Islamic intellectual life for more than a millennium, across diverse periods, regions and sects. This is the first volume of scholarly essays ever collected on the key texts and critical themes of hadith commentary. The book unfolds chronologically from the early centuries of Islam to the modern period, and readers will discover continuities and changes as a group of international experts offer illuminating studies of Sunnis, Shi‘i and Sufis who interpret and debate the meaning of hadith that spans a wide terrain: Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, India, and further. The volume also models a variety of methodological approaches, including social history, intellectual history, the study of religion, and digital history. By highlighting both differences and commonalities as the practice of hadith commentary circulated across distant eras and lands, this volume sheds new light on the way Muslims have historically understood the meaning of Muhammad’s example.

Link to EUP:
https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-hadith-commentary.html

Brinkmann, Stefanie: “Between Philology and Hadith Criticism: The Genre of Sharḥ Gharīb al-Ḥadīth”

Brinkmann, Stefanie: “Between Philology and Hadith Criticism: The Genre of Sharḥ Gharīb al-Ḥadīth”. In: Blecher, Joel and Brinkmann, Stefanie (eds.): Hadith Commentary. Continuity and Change, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 2023.

In her chapter on gharīb al-ḥadīth, Stefanie Brinkmann explores this genre as nucleus for the coming multi-thematic hadith commentary, describes its oscillation between lexicography and hadith sciences, traces its production in history, and presents formal structures of the different works.

Verena Klemm: "Hidden Literary History. Ismaʿili Tradition in Syria"

Klemm, Verena: Hidden Literary History. Ismaʿili Tradition in Syria. In: Hakan Özkan und Nefeli Papoutsakis (eds.), Doing Justice to a Wronged Literature. Essays on Arabic Literature and Rhetoric of the 12th–18th Centuries in Honour of Thomas Bauer Leiden, Brill Publishers, 2022, pp. 190-210 (Islamic History and Civilizations).

Link to Brill

"Verena Klemm explores the special manuscript culture that the Syrian Ismaʿilis, a relatively isolated and secretive Shiite community, practised in their mountainous retreat in Jabal Bahrāʾ, not far from Hama, over the centuries. There, away from the cultural centres of the region, religious experts compiled various texts of interest to the community in composite manuscripts (majmūʿāt) that were and are even today kept in private collections inaccessible to research. As an example, she presents a few manuscripts containing, among other things, Manāqib al-mawlā Rāshid al-Dīn, a collection of hagiographic tales about Rāshid al-Dīn Sinān (d. ca. 589/1193), the leader of the community at the time of Saladin. The tales, which were initially transmitted orally, were written down at the time of Hama’s efflorescence under al-Malik al-Muʾayyad (r. 710–31/1310–31) and sharply contrast with the literary high culture that thrived at his court." (Introduction by Hakan Özkan and Nefeli Papoutsakis)

Boris Liebrenz: "Curious Readers: The Bodleian’s Book of Curiosities as a Fatimid View of the World Through Ottoman Eyes"

Boris Liebrenz: "Curious Readers: The Bodleian’s Book of Curiosities as a Fatimid View of the World Through Ottoman Eyes," Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 64 (2021), 404-424. https://brill.com/view/journals/jesh/64/4/article-p404_3.xml

An illustrated cosmographical and geographical manuscript at Oxford’s Bodleian Library, known as the Book of Curiosities, has recently seen a rare confluence of public and scholarly attention. It is widely regarded as one of the outstanding Arabic works of geography, with stylistically idiosyncratic maps and a text that can be traced back to Egypt in the Fatimid period. However, few concrete facts are known about the history of this unique artefact. This article will identify and analyse the traces left by some of its previous owners and thus unlock the Ottoman history of this Fatimid work. By placing it in a concrete temporal and geographical context, we are better able to envisage the intellectual, social, and political environment in which this book could make sense to its owners and readers.

Boris Liebrenz: "Ibn Ḥazm's Ṭawq al-Ḥamama (The Neck-Ring of the Dove)"

"Ibn Ḥazm's Ṭawq al-Ḥamama (The Neck-Ring of the Dove)", in Bestsellers and Masterpieces. The changing medieval canon, eds. Heather Blurton and Dwight F. Reynolds (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2022), pp. 79-112.

Today, the Ṭawq al-ḥamāma is not only the most famous work by the Andalusian scholar Ibn Ḥazm (d. 456 / 1064), it has become a nearly ubiquitous text: in the Arabic-speaking world, it is found in school-curricula and widely read; on a global scale it has been translated into numerous languages; and it has sparked not only much scholarship, but also inspired modern literary adaptations. It is considered a quintessential guide to the theme of love in Arabic literature. Yet this modern popularity is in stark contrast to its perilous transmission. How could it be that a text so fundamental today could be transmitted to us on the feeble thread of a single manuscript, now held in Leiden? Its singularity, however, does not mean a lack of interest in the book between its inception and re-discovery in the 19th century. The manuscript bears many traces of former possessors and readers, traces that have hitherto not been analyzed. This contribution proposes to chart the way of this manuscript in the East, explain how it ended up in Leiden, and finally how it was first edited and popularized in the 19th and early 20th century.

Thomas Efer "Graph Technologies in the Humanities 2020"

Graph Technologies in the Humanities - Proceedings 2020

Summary: A total of 51 abstracts were submitted for the conferences and reviewed by the program committee, which accepted 36 contributions for presentation. Of these, 15 papers were selected as long papers for the conference proceedings and subjected to open peer review by the editors.

Vienna, Austria, February 21-22, 2020.
Edited by

Tara Andrews
Franziska Diehr
Thomas Efer
Andreas Kuczera
Joris van Zundert

Open source: http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-3110/

Stefanie Brinkmann: „From Iran to Kawkabān: The Transfer of Sunnī Ḥadīth to Zaydī Yemen"

Stefanie Brinkmann: „From Iran to Kawkabān: The Transfer of Sunnī Ḥadīth to Zaydī Yemen. A Case Study of Ms. Vienna, Cod. Glaser 30”, in: Ansari, Hassan and Sabine Schmidtke (eds.): Yemeni Manuscript Cultures in Peril, Piscataway, NJ (Gorgias Press) 2022.

The edited volume Yemeni Manuscript Cultures in Peril contributes to the history of books and libraries in Yemen, and their role in the intellectual culture of Zaydī Yemen. The contributions address past and present manuscript holdings in Yemen, but also in Europe and beyond. The chapter „From Iran to Kawkabān: The Transfer of Sunnī Ḥadīth to Zaydī Yemen. A Case Study of Ms. Vienna, Cod. Glaser 30” discusses the life story of a manuscript with al-Bukhārī’s Ṣaḥīḥ, which was produced in Timurid Iran (Shiraz) and reached Yemen latest by the 16th century where it remained within the wider family of the Zaydī Imām al-Mutawakkil ʿalā llāh Sharaf al-Dīn (877-965/1473-1558) in Kawkabān. Through the analysis of ownership and inheritance notes the family network from Imām al-Mutawakkil ʿalā llāh Sharaf al-Dīn as first owner in Kawkabān to the last owner in the 19th century could be reconstructed. Furthermore, the examination of the marginal commentaries and the ownership notes illustrates the use of this manuscript within the Zaydī intellectual culture and the growing Sunnitisation.

Flyer

Boris Liebrenz: "What’s in a Seal?"

https://brill.com/view/journals/jim/13/1/article-p55_2.xml

"What's in a Seal? Identification and Interpretation of ʿAbd al-Bāqī Ibn al-ʿArabī’s (d. 971/1564) Seal and Its Function," Journal of Islamic Manuscripts 13 (2022), pp. 55-80.

It was only during the Ottoman period, beginning in 1517, that seals gained popularity in the Arab world as a means to document people’s interactions with books. Some seals came alone while others accompanied handwritten notes. Some spelled out their purpose clearly through formulations such as “min kutub”, “hāḏā mā waqafa” or the like; others contained only pious formulae and a name. But even the latter are generally assumed to denote ownership or endowment. In this article, I present the example of a seal that belonged to a judge in early Ottoman Egypt. I will argue that the seal did not denote ownership of the books on which it is found, and I will attempt to show that it was used by its owner in the process of an inventory of Cairo’s endowed libraries. I will also discuss what this insight could mean for interpreting the history of books and collections through seals.

Boris Liebrenz: “Fī maʿānī al-aḫtām"

Boris Liebrenz: “Fī maʿānī al-aḫtām". Ḫatm al-qāḍī ʿAbd al-Bāqī b. al-ʿArabī (t 971h/1564m), māhīyatuhū wa-waẓīfatuhū,” Maǧallat Maʿhad al-Maḫṭūṭāt al-ʿArabīya 65 (2021), 138-173.

Boris Liebrenz: "Curious Readers: The Bodleian’s Book of Curiosities as a Fatimid View of the World Through Ottoman Eyes"

Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 64 (2021), pp. 404–424.

An illustrated cosmographical and geographical manuscript at Oxford’s Bodleian Library, known as the Book of Curiosities, has recently seen a rare confluence of public and scholarly attention. It is widely regarded as one of the outstanding Arabic works of geography, with stylistically idiosyncratic maps and a text that can be traced back to Egypt in the Fatimid period. However, few concrete facts are known about the history of this unique artefact. This article will identify and analyse the traces left by some of its previous owners and thus unlock the Ottoman history of this Fatimid work. By placing it in a concrete temporal and geographical context, we are better able to envisage the intellectual, social, and political environment in which this book could make sense to its owners and readers.

  https://brill.com/view/journals/jesh/64/4/article-p404_3.xml?language=en 

Bibliotheca Arabica - Project Presentation

Stefanie Brinkmann and Nadine Löhr: "Bibliotheca Arabica—Towards a New History of Arabic Literature"

The presentation describes the project Bibliotheca Arabica (hosted by the Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Leipzig, 2018–2035), which aims to shed new light on the history of Arabic literatures focusing especially on the Mamluk and Ottoman periods from 1150 to 1850.

Published in:
Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies Bulletin: 7.
Open online access


Brinkmann, Stefanie, & Löhr, Nadine. (2021). Bibliotheca Arabica—Towards a New History of Arabic Literature (Version Online First). Comparative Oriental Manuscript Studies Bulletin, 7. http://doi.org/10.25592/uhhfdm.9158

Marginal Commentaries in Hadith Manuscripts

Stefanie Brinkmann: “Marginal Commentaries in Hadith Manuscripts”, in: Markus Stock/ Christine Lechtermann (Hgg.): “Practices in Commentary”. Frankfurt a.M. 2020 [=   Zeitsprünge. Forschungen zur Frühen Neuzeit / Sonderband 24], S. 6-44.

Throughout centuries, people have annotated ḥadīth texts in the margin of manuscripts or between the lines. These annotations could be personal remarks, drafts for a proper commentary, or quotations from already existing stand-alone commentaries.

This article illustrates the potential of the analysis of such annotations for the reconstruction of the production, transmission, and use of ḥadīth commentaries. After a review of the state of research it addresses the issues of terminology, scribal practices and layout, and it offers a preliminary typology. The article is part of an edited volume on pre-modern practices of commentary in different cultures from the 8th to the 16th centuries.

The edited volume „Practices of Commentary”, edited by Markus Stock and Christine Lechtermann) has been published online now and can be downloaded as full digital copy under:
https://globalcommentary.utoronto.ca/?cat=156
(or: https://globalcommentary.utoronto.ca, then “news”)


An Archive in a Book: Documents and Letters from the Early-Mamluk Period

Boris Liebrenz: An Archive in a Book: Documents and Letters from the Early-Mamluk Period
In: Der Islam 2020; 97 (1): 120–171
https://doi.org/10.1515/islam-2020-0006

The nature and place of archives in the premodern Islamicate world is a much debated topic and various explanations are offered for the relative scarcity of preserved material as well as the regional imbalance in the record. One factor that stands out in this discussion is the general prominence of counter-archival practices for the survival of what we are studying today. This contribution is the first to examine one such practice that has led to the preservation of a great number of documents: the reuse of discarded papers for the production of bindings. The case study looks at the binding of Leiden Or. 122, which preserved letters, decrees, and lists from Egypt and Syria at the beginning of the Mamluk reign. They likely belonged to a large household in Cairo, more precisely located in the Ayyubid palace Iṣṭabl al-Quṭbiyya. The article offers an edition of the material with an analysis of the historical circumstances, namely the eventful early years of Mamluk rule in Egypt and Syria.

The History and Provenance of the Unique Dustūr al-munaǧǧimīn Manuscript, BnF Arabe 5968

Boris Liebrenz: “The History and Provenance of the Unique Dustūr al-munaǧǧimīn Manuscript, BnF Arabe 5968. A Reassessment”, in: Journal of Islamic Manuscripts 11 (2020), S. 28-42. https://doi.org/10.1163/1878464X-01101002

This article offers a re-assessment for the history of a unicum text, the Dustūr al-munaǧǧimīn, preserved in the manuscript Paris, BnF Arabe 5968. Based on a re-reading of the manuscript notes found therein, previous misreadings are corrected and the book’s trajectory is sketched through owners in Damascus, Bursa, and Istanbul. The article offers methodological suggestions for those interested in incorporating manuscript notes into their research and asks what tools are needed for the field to achieve much-needed cooperation and exchange of data.

 

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The Vendor’s Note. A First Assessment

Boris Liebrenz: “The Vendor’s Note. A First Assessment”, in:  Journal of Islamic Manuscripts 10, 3 (2019), S. 269-291. https://doi.org/10.1163/1878464X-01003001

One form of manuscript notes that has not received any scholarly treatment so far is the vendor’s note. Its common characteristic in place and formulary as well as the limited time during which it was used, broadly between the 7th and 10th century AH, warrant the preliminary assessment of this article. It is hoped that the description, analysis, and edition of a small corpus will make it easier to identify this type of note in the future.


Graphbasierte Modellierung von Faktenprovenienz als Grundlage für die Dokumentation von Zweifel und die Auflösung von Widersprüchen

Thomas Efer: “Graphbasierte Modellierung von Faktenprovenienz als Grundlage für die Dokumentation von Zweifel und die Auflösung von Widersprüchen”, in: Andreas Kuczera / Thorsten Wübbena / Thomas Kollatz (Hgg.): “Die Modellierung des Zweifels – Schlüsselideen und -konzepte zur graphbasierten Modellierung von Unsicherheiten”, Wolfenbüttel 2019 [=Zeitschrift für digitale Geisteswissenschaften /  Sonderband 4]
DOI: 10.17175/sb004_011

Ziel dieses Beitrags ist es, die Wichtigkeit einer nachvollziehbaren Herkunft von Aussagen in Wissensbasen der Digitalen Geisteswissenschaften herauszustellen. Neben der Vorstellung genereller Aspekte der Aussagenmodellierung auf abstrakter und beispielgeleiteter Ebene wird das Konzept einer Faktenprovenienz entwickelt und in Aussagemodelle integriert. Auf Basis von Provenienzketten wird demonstriert, wie eine im System erfasste Herkunftsdokumentation von Einzelaussagen zur Behandlung von Widersprüchen und der Reduzierung von Unsicherheit genutzt werden kann.

The History of Books and Collections through Manuscript Notes

Boris Liebrenz (Hg.): “The History of Books and Collections through Manuscript Notes” (Leiden: Brill, 2018) [=Journal of Islamic Manuscripts, Special issue, 9/2-3].

and

“Preface“, in: Boris Liebrenz (ed.) “The History of Books and Collections through Manuscript Notes” (Leiden: Brill, 2018), S. 105-107.

(see brill.com)

AKTUELLE AKADEMIE-PROJEKTE

Vorhaben im Akademienprogramm

Althochdeutsches Wörterbuch

Bach-Repertorium

Bibliotheca Arabica

Briefe und Akten zur Kirchenpolitik Friedrichs des Weisen und Johanns des Beständigen

Codex diplomaticus Saxoniae

Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum

Deutsche Wortfeldetymologie in europäischem Kontext

Die Deutschen Inschriften

Edition der Briefe Philipp Jakob Speners

Edition der Briefe Robert und Clara Schumanns

Edition des Gottsched-Briefwechsels

Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Althochdeutschen

Europäische Traditionen – Enzyklopädie jüdischer Kulturen

Forschungsportal BACH

Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi: Briefwechsel

Klöster im Hochmittelalter

Leipziger Mendelssohn-Ausgabe

PROPYLÄEN. Forschungsplattform zu Goethes Biographica

Robert Schumanns Poetische Welt

Text- und Wissenskultur im alten Ägypten

Buddhistische Höhlenmalereien in der Kucha-Region


Landes- und drittmittelfinanzierte Vorhaben:

DIKUSA – Vernetzung digitaler Kulturdaten in Sachsen

NFDI Text+: Forschungsdateninfrastruktur und lexikalische Ressourcen

SaxFDM-Fokusprojekt: Publikationsdienst für wissenschaftliche Datenmodelle und Vokabulare

Kulturerbe Tanz in der DDR

Umgang mit Andersdenkenden und die Konsequenzen: eine datenbasierte Analyse der Politik der SED gegenüber den Bausoldaten

Landeskunde

Landschaft als KulturErbe. Transformation einer Bergbaulandschaft in Sachsen im 20. Jahrhundert

Das Sächsische Weichbildrecht mit Glosse. Digitale Edition der Handschrift Staatsbibliothek Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Ms. germ. fol. 389, im Rahmen der Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH)

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Termine
Hafen des Heils oder Hölle des Lebens? Die Flucht ins und aus dem Kloster im Mittelalter 06.09.2024 - 07.09.2024 — Digitaler Workshop
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