Where manuscripts die and printed books are born: Liminal spaces in Middle Eastern manuscript libraries

28.05.2024 14:00 - 15:00English

What happened to old Arabic manuscripts in premodern manuscript libraries?

Photo: Sohaib Al Kharsa/Unsplash

Most Arabic manuscripts that have been produced over the last 1,400 years have perished. Apart from those lost to fires, floods, and wars, most died quiet deaths in manuscript libraries.

In this lecture, Ahmed El Shamsy (University of Chicago) explores what happened to old Arabic manuscripts in premodern manuscript libraries. He discusses the storage and recycling of manuscript fragments and traces the rebirth that some of them experienced in new manuscripts and printed books.

The event will be moderated by Eirik Hovden (UiB).

Event info.

Bergen Global
Jekteviksbakken 31, Bergen

28.05.2024
14:00 - 15:00
English
Add to calendar 28.05.2024, 28.05.2024
Ahmed El Shamsy
Professor, University of Chicago

Ahmed El Shamsy studies the intellectual history of Islam, focusing on the evolution of the classical Islamic disciplines and scholarly culture within their broader historical context. His research addresses themes such as orality and literacy, the history of the book, and the theory and practice of Islamic law.

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Eirik Hovden
Researcher, UiB

Eirik Hovden is a scholar of Yemeni and Zaydi history. He has worked on comparative medieval history at the Austrian Academic of Sciences as well as on traditional Zaydi Islamic law of governance at UiB.

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Ahmed El Shamsy

Professor, University of Chicago

Ahmed El Shamsy studies the intellectual history of Islam, focusing on the evolution of the classical Islamic disciplines and scholarly culture within their broader historical context. His research addresses themes such as orality and literacy, the history of the book, and the theory and practice of Islamic law.

El Shamsy’s first book, The Canonization of Islamic Law: A Social and Intellectual History, traces the transformation of Islamic law from a primarily oral tradition to a systematic written discipline in the eighth and ninth centuries. In his second book, Rediscovering the Islamic Classics: How Editors and Print Culture Transformed an Intellectual Tradition, he shows how Arab editors and intellectuals  in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries used the newly adopted medium of printing to rescue classical Arabic texts from oblivion and to popularize them as the classics of Islamic thought.

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Eirik Hovden

Researcher, UiB

Eirik Hovden is a scholar of Yemeni and Zaydi history. He has worked on comparative medieval history at the Austrian Academic of Sciences as well as on traditional Zaydi Islamic law of governance at UiB.

Hovden is currently leading a TMS starting grant about the development and change in Islamic law seen through the concepts of canonization and codification, located at the Department of Foreign Languages and Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion at UiB.

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Bergen Global is a joint initiative between the University of Bergen and Chr. Michelsen Institute that addresses global challenges.