An ijāza for Ibn Mufliḥ

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 github). This document survives in the Istanbul manuscript MS Laleli 3747, fols. 192b-193a. Unfortunately, I have no further information about the other contents of this manuscript except that it did not contain any other writings by Ibn Ṭūlūn.

The two folios that I have seen carry a number of textual items. Two are directly concerned with acts of transmission. The ijāza proper documents a session on 9 Shawwāl 941 in the Umayyad Mosque and covers about one and a half pages. It is followed by a shorter ‘update’ of about three lines, which testifies to Ibn Mufliḥ’s discussion of an introductory work (muqaddima) on logic by one al-Sāghūjī about two years later (25 Rabīʿ II 943).

In addition, there are three items to be considered for the history of the document’s own transmission. On the originally empty recto of the first folio (192b) Ibn Mufliḥ added title information:

اجازة كاتبه اكمل 
من الامام محمد بن طولون 
رحمه الله نعم
To its left, a different hand added a note stating the date of Ibn Ṭūlūn’s death (13[?] Jum. I 953) and the place of his grave (near the Cave of Abel on the slopes of the Qāsyūn). (I leave aside here a note in pencil that gives Ibn Ṭūlūn’s authoritative name and must be more recent). It is clear from the wording of the title that Ibn Mufliḥ added it after Ibn Ṭūlūn’s death and thus at least a decade after the transmission. Finally, below the end of the text a waqf stamp can be found testifying to the movement of the manuscript to Istanbul. I read the inscription as follows.
Library Stamp, Süleymaniyye Kütüphanesi, MS Laleli 3747, fol. 193a

هذا وقف سلطان الزمان / الغازي سلطان سليم خان / ابن السلطان مصطفى خان / غفى عنهما الرحمان / ١٢١٤

The two names mentioned here refer to Ottoman sultans of the 18th to early 19th centuries. The stipulator of this book endowment was Selīm III, known as a reformer and patron of the arts. As his father, the mentioned Muṣṭafā III, he was buried in the Laleli Mosque in Istanbul, which Muṣṭafā had constructed and where Selīm’s book endowment remained until its transfer to the Süleymaniyye Library. The date on the stamp indicates the addition to the endowment of this manuscript occurred in 1799.

The trajectory emerging from this information suggests that Ibn Mufliḥ acquired the ijāza at some point following the second iteration of transmission or, more probable, following Ibn Ṭūlūn’s death. Whether he took it with him to Istanbul or whether Selīm III bought the manuscript from Damascus cannot be ascertained without an analysis of the entire codex. The identification of the other scribe on fol. 192a might also help to pinpoint the transfer.

Back to the ijāza itself. It stands out among Ibn Ṭūlūn’s documents on transmission in that it starts out with panegyrics whose length is comparable to those of many of his writings. The Hamdallah covers three-and-a-half lines. It is separated from the following by a baʿd which leads into another seven-and-a-half lines of elaboration of Ibn Mufliḥ’s name and pedigree (as well as Ibn Ṭūlūn’s connections to members of that family).

Following this the presentation itself is lauded and finally we learn the subject of the session: the Ḥanbalī legal compendium (mukhtaṣar) of “the shaykh, the imām Abū al-Qāsim ʿUmar b. al-Ḥusayn al-Kharaqī” (d. 334 in Damascus; Onomasticon Arabicum, note ID: 12269). Until today, the importance of this work is overshadowed by that of Muwaffaq al-Dīn al-Maqdisī’s al-Mughnī ʿalā mukhtaṣar al-Kharaqī. Muwaffaq al-Dīn and his brother Abū ʿUmar, founder of the ʿUmariyya Madrasa, also have a part in the chain of transmission given by Ibn Ṭūlūn (fol. 192b).

The rest of the ijāza is concerned with the transmission through several chains (musalsal). One goes through Ḥanbalīs or, more specifically, through those residing in Ṣāliḥiyya or belonging to the Maqdisī family. Another goes through Shafiʿīs and Egyptians. And it obviously these chains which were the reason for documentation. This ijāza was one of riwāya, not teaching. Garrett Davidson describes this expansion of hadith transmission into other fields (Davidson 2014, 209):

The transmission of books through chains of transmission according to the protocols of hadith, has its roots in the idea that, like a hadith, it was only though a chain of transmission of trustworthy transmitters that the attribution of a text to an author could be reliably established. The chains of transmission it would be stated, “are the genealogies of books,” without a chain of transmission, to follow the analogy, a book was like a fatherless child cut off from sources of legitimacy.

This stands in stark contrast to the second, much shorter note following the ijāza proper. It seems to have been written much more hastily and is bare of visual aids to navigate the text—in the ijāza red ink is used to indicate new sections. Even the black ink is not as even. More importantly, this note documents only the subject, place and date of the act of transmission but omits information on its chain.

One possible reason is that this was session on a “muqaddima … fī ʿilm al-manṭaq” was in fact part of a more formal education for jurists. Therefore, its main concern was to record Ibn Mufliḥ’s successful exam on this text. The juxtaposition of both ijāzas could explain the terseness of this record, since all the necessary background information on Ibn Mufliḥ is given on fol. 192b. But the difference in what is recorded in both cases is striking.

Ijāzas or Samāʿāt?

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 one I had not seen yet (I have uploaded the file to github like the others). It is part of a Majmūʿa kept at the library of the Baladiyya of Alexandria which I have already mentioned in a recent entry (“A whole Majmūʿa copied? MS Majāmīʿ 315”).

The inclusion of this new item requires a modification to the above-quoted assessment: Are all of these really ijāzas or are samāʿāt among them? In short, yes there are and they have been misidentified in the catalogues. And I found out, go me!

More precisely, two items are samāʿāt: the one in the Alexandria manuscript (Baladiyya al-Iskandariyya, MS Alex. Fun. 183, fol. 104a) and the second one is actually the first one to have received an entry, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, MS Wetzstein I 134, fols. 30a-b. That means that out of three entries about ijāzas (this one included) only one was actually devoted to ijāzas.

But it makes sense to discuss here how ijāzas and samāʿāt differ from one another, even where such a small corpus is concerned. The length of the text seems to qualify as a criterium in the case of the item from Alexandria which is only half a page/nine lines long. However, it does not hold up in the other case from Berlin, whose 36 lines are equal to those of an ijāza Ibn Ṭūlūn granted to Akmal al-Dīn Ibn Mufliḥ in 943 (Süleymaniyye U Kütüphanesi, MS Laleli 3747, fols. 192a-193a). Yet, as I have explained in the entry on the Berlin manuscript, the text has a lot to say about the context of this act of transmission, which might account for the greater length. This has to be seen against the background that in this case Ibn Ṭūlūn received and did not transmit knowledge.

The second criterium, which is more solid, is the wording in introducing the respective item. The items from Alexandria and Berlin begin with a simple al-ḥamdu li-llāh on a separate line, whereas the other three items are introduced with bi-sm Allāh al-raḥmān al-raḥīm wa-huwa ḥasabī, also on a separate line, followed by the Hamdallah within the text body.

The third criterium is the terminology in the beginning of the text proper. In fact, I should have noticed already a year ago that the item in MS Wetzstein I 134 begins with the word samiʿa. But it took a second instance in the Alexandria manuscript for me to notice it. It might help to restore my credentials that both texts mention the issuing of ijāzas.

The other three items, however, show a different and more active engagement with works that are mentioned in the respective texts. They either recite (qaraʿa) or discuss (ʿaruḍa) them and receive a license for these endeavours. If we connect this to Garrett Davidson’s distinction between transmission for devotional purposes and and as part of structured education (on Davidson’s work, see entries here and here), a clear functional distinction between these samāʿāt and ijāzas emerges.

This distinction is supported by the diverging venues where these reading sessions took place. The ijāzas were issued exclusively in established institutions of learning: the Umayyad Mosque and the Ottoman Salīmiyya Mosque. Compare this to the sites of the Berlin and Alexandria items: the former records a recitation “in a garden (bustān) in Qaṣr al-Labbād, an area in the vicinity of Barza and Qābūn” (see Tuluniana 3: A teaching certificate) and the latter records recitations at the sultan’s maṣṭaba near Qābūn and the Shrine of Abraham (maqām al-khalīl) close to Barza.

The last place, in particular, was integrated in the sacred landscape of Damascus and Ibn Ṭūlūn himself devoted two treatises to it: Qudrat al-jalīl fīmā warada fī maqām Khalīl and Manḥ al-jalīl fīmā warada fī maqām al-Khalīl.

One aspect that I have not yet addressed is obviously the content of transmission. In both the cases from Berlin and from Alexandria, the content appears more devotional than part of a formal education. The subject of the Berlin samāʿ is “a work elaborating on the merits of Damascus (faḍāʾil)”. The other samāʿ mentions two of Ibn Ṭūlūn’s smaller works. One is the ḥadīth treatise Tuḥfat al-aḥbāb fī manṭaq al-ṭayr wa-l-dawābb, which incidentally begins on the verso of the same folio (fols. 104b-105b). The second work, Sharḥ al-ṣudūr fīmā ruwiya fī al-fakhkh wa-l-ʿuṣfūr, is likewise concerned with animals.

I was recently made aware that this text might even be a rendition of a classic tale. In any case, the contents are another clear indicator that these two documentations were concerned with transmission outside of formal education.

The history of MS Tarikh Taymur 631: vol. 1 of al-Ghuraf al-ʿaliyya

Still these Cairene manuscripts. Among others, they have one volume of Ibn Ṭūlūn’s biographical dictionary, al-Ghuraf al-ʿaliyya fī tarājim mutaʾakhkhirī al-ḥanafiyya. The British Library holds the second volume of the work. I have spoken about this work before here and here. Also, Guy Burak made use of an Istanbuli copy of it in his dissertation, “The Abū Ḥanīfah of his time? Islamic Law, Jurisprudential Authority and Empire in the Ottoman Domains (16th-17th Centuries)”. As can be seen from the collections where they are held nowadays, the different volumes of the Ghuraf were separated from each other at one point. The Cairo manuscript (MS Tarikh Taymur 631) contains the first part of this three-volume work on 386 pages, covering the introduction as well as biographies in alphabetical order until the letter ẓāʾ. The last biography is dedicated to Ẓuhayr b. Ḥasan al-Qurashī al-Makkī (745-819).

The London manuscript (MS Or. 3046) contains the other two volumes, the second entirely dedicated to names beginning with ʿayn, the final one containing names from mīm to yā and, in addition, entries for people known by their kunya or their laqab. It concludes with a short chapter on women, consisting of only three entries. The volume is about twice the size of the Cairo manuscript at 358 folios; yet, I counted 61 empty pages within this volume, indicating that the author never finished his original aim. These pages were not all counted in the catalogue, where only 320 folios are ascribed to the volume.

Both manuscripts give away some of their own trajectories. MS Or. 3046 entered the British Library from the British Museum, where it was part of Baron Alfred von Kremer‘s collection, who left an ownership mark dated 9 January 1886 (fol. 358b). According to the catalogue, this date refers to Kremer’s sale to the British Library and not to his own acquisition.

The Supplement to the catalogue of the Arabic manuscripts in the British Museum (pp. vi-vii) describes Kremer’s collection briefly, as containing almost 200 Arabic manuscripts most of which he acquired on several trips to Cairo and Damascus between 1849 and 1880.  Yet, Kremer does not even have an entry in the English wikipedia.

Apart from this note, there are no other ownership notes to be found, only annotations in the hand of Ibn Tulun’s student Akmal al-Din Ibn Muflih. These are more sparse than in other works. They include several marginal rubrications and explanations, e.g. on fol. 175b: “hādhā jadd Amīn al-Dīn Muḥammad b. ʿUthmān al-Ṣāliḥī”. He also made an addition to the biography of Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. ʿUthmān al-Biqāʿī al-Dimashqī (fol. 125b), giving his date of death in 965 AH. The lack of further information on the manuscript’s history could partly be ascribed to a later framing of the first folio, which cut away or hid further potential owners’ or readers’ annotations.

fol. 1a of MS Tarikh Taymur 631

MS Tarikh Taymur 631’s first folio is also framed in a similar manner. And here it is visible that the framing affected at least one such statement, which states the manuscript’s belonging to Ibn Tulun’s original book endowment at the Umariyya Madrasa. The frame features a large stamp of Ahmad Taymur’s library.

Again, throughout the volume similar annotations by Ibn Muflih are interspersed, which is little surprising due to both being part of the same work. The main difference is another library stamp to be found on pages 39 and, twice, 387.

Stamp, MS Tarikh Taymur 631, p. 387

My first reading of its inscription was “hādhā min kutub ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Muṣṭafā”. The first half seems to be something else, perhaps “kharāj” or “khodā”? The important thing, however, is that the name pops up in other Ibn Tulun autographs, and there we learn more about this book collector.

The Cairene MS 21201 b (for tafsīr) is a small collection of four Ibn Tulun autographs. They do not need to concern us now but what is more important is that it carries several annotations that testify to a prolonged engagement by one person with the manuscript. He first identifies the handwriting on the dust page (fol. 1a) as that of Ramadan al-Utayfī, a 17th-century chief judge of Damascus. He gives his name as Abd al-Salam and the date of his note as 4 Ramadan 1278 / 5 March 1862.

His whole name and familial background we learn from a collation note on fol. 17a, dated 1284 / 1867: “ʿAbd al-Salām b. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Muṣṭafā b. Maḥmūd [erased] al-Ḥanbalī”. In all likelihood, he was the son of the owner of MS Tarikh Taymur 631. While there is no evidence that Abd al-Salam also called MS Tarikh Taymur 631 his own, this connection would at least put it in a private Damascene library by the early 19th century.

This is not to say that henceforth this manuscript would remain private property until its transfer to Cairo. Chances are that it might have again been endowed but we simply cannot say for sure. And one more thing we cannot guess is when the two volumes became separated for the first time, and whether they were reunited at any point afterwards.

The internal documentation of both manuscripts sets in at different points in time and betrays very different trajectories. The Cairo manuscript seems to have left the Umariyya library to another (or several other) Damascene library and finally to the Taymuriyya in Egypt. The London manuscript, in contrast, appears to have been bought immediately by a European orientalist, who then sold it to a European National Library.

Thoughts after Workshop: Textual Analysis Using Stylometry (AUB, 24-25 April)

On 24 and 25 April 2018, Najla Jarkas organised a workshop on “Textual Analysis Using Stylometry” at the american University of Beirut. The workshop was hosted by David Wrisley and 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 the big and exceptional words but on the frequency of every-day terms in writing. By measuring frequencies and distribution, it has become a major method for everything from authorship attribution (note the case of the identity of the pseudonym Elisabeth Ferrante) and proximity to proving plagiarism.

Within the workshop, we took first steps in using the software R on a preassembled textual corpus of 19th-century English literature. We used Dr. Eder’s stylometry package for R which also can be found on his github page. You also find there two corpora to try out what it can offer you. Following these first steps I tried to apply stylometry to my own small corpus of teaching certificates getting mixed results. This might be in the nature of these texts, being epitomised by the most common three-word combinations being “Muhammad bin Muhammad” and “bin Muhammad bin”. Within the small sample, there was also little proximity to be found between the different texts.

Yet, as digital methods so often do, they make you think about your own methods and conditions of research. And R seems promising when you think of the possibilities in analysing premodern Arabic texts. As historical texts in particular were often to a large degree the product of recompilation of earlier sources, would it not be cool to find out where an author most probably copied from another one? This is basically what Sarah Savant’s Kitab Project promises to achieve.

But what would we need to enable the machine to help us with our texts? Clearly, it depends on what you work on: the period, the genre, and the fame of “your” authors all matter for how fast you can accumulate a relevant corpus. And it is generally better for you if you work with edited sources only, since chances are that you find a copy of those on shamela or another grey website. Even better, you might find them on the github page of Maxim Romanov’s project Open Arabic (current URL / new URL). This is by far the largest and best curated repository of Arabic texts you can hope for at the present moment.

Still, it suffers from what I’d like to call the “edition bias”, which distorts our perspective of Arabic literary of, more so, writerly heritage in much the same way as the better-known survival bias and the more recent “digitisation bias” do. It tends to over-represent works of the Abbasid period, for instance, over those of the Ottoman Period. This is not Maximov’s fault, I have to emphasise! It is simply the nature of modern academic tradition which, in turn, also has built upon the modern and traditional Arabic traditions in valuing and hierarchising literary works and other writings according to often implicit standards.

In other words, despite its many merits, I urge you to not to take the numbers it gives you for included works from different centuries as statistically sound representations of the ups-and-downs of actual literary production. I have before spoken about the size of Ibn Tulun’s written corpus: the surviving works alone range in the hundreds. So, what do we find on Open Arabic?

Ibn Tulun works in Open Arabic

Six works, only one of which has a considerable size! Even Ibn Abd al-Hadi (see IbnMibradHanbali), whose works were rarely copied in manuscript, has fourteen entries! One reason for the selection of works by both authors is a continuing interest in the Arab world in their religious and ethical writings. Other works, some of which have been introduced on this blog before, are currently not regarded as edition worthy (you see, there is the bias).

So, one main obstacle in applying stylometry to my own project is the lack of a sufficient corpus. As Dr. Eder explained, however, you would not need to transcribe everything in your corpus. A few passages per book might be enough to get you started. And it might be interesting to run these analyses not only when your corpus has been finalised but regularly in the process.

But I was wondering also whether we can actually use this method for cases like teaching certificates and other documentary sources. Even though Florian Sobieroj has shown in an article, that these texts never assumed a uniform format, we cannot get around the long chains of names connected into long chains of transmitters and interrupted by the likewise long titles of books. There is not much verbal action happening in those—nor in much of hadith literature.

In turn, this is connected to the question which parts of such texts were actually conceived of by their authors. Which parts of such texts could we use as the standard by which to evaluate the authorship of other passages or works? The basmalla? The tamhid? The justification of the work? The chains of transmission? The interpretation of their source material? This is a tricky question and I have no answer for it. And this comes before even problems connected to machine-readability are taken into account. These include the issue of the assimilation of the “wa” to the following word, the distinction search functions make between words with or without article, plural forms, let alone letters that become visible in writing only when the letter is present.

So, where is the silver lining of all those obstacles I keep ranting over? I would say that all of us can be the silver lining. We just need to share our own transcripts with each other and the Open Arabic (soon Open ITI) project in particular, thereby enlarging our shared corpus of machine-readable texts. These can even be partial ones like my contents list of Ibn Tulun’s biographical dictionary al-Ghuraf al-ʿaliyya. And the benefits of sharing your data go way beyond the applicability of stylometric analysis. It is perhaps the best entry point to understand better the opportunities digital humanities offer for our research and its dissemination. Or perhaps I am just idealistic in this matter…

Medieval Damascus: Was there no garbage problem ever?

Insides of a medieval German latrine

Reading two articles on Medium, one about rat kings and another about an early car named by its creator Horsey Horseless and which featured “a life-size replica of a horse head, down to the shoulders, and attaching it to the front of a carriage“, I got into thinking. I have to add here that I am no specialist in this field.

More specifically, together these articles made me wonder what did Medieval Damascenes do with their garbage and how did they avoid to have recurrent garbage crises? Obviously, they did not have to worry about plastic piles but the garbage they did have to worry about was still of a rather smelly nature. As the exhibit from the Frankfurt historical museum shows, there was a lot of other waste as well.

One main source of stinky garbage were domesticated animals used as mounts, for transportation, or in food and dairy production. At least for the nineteenth century, Jonah Berger observes in the article on the horse-car that “manure […] at the time was threatening to suffocate many major cities.” I reckon that the horse population of Damascus was somewhat smaller compared to that of nineteenth-century European metropoles but still. The Mamluks who had a strong presence in the city and, according to contemporary observers numbered in the low thousands, relied on horses in their claims to rule and warrior prowess.

According to Aḥmad Ibn Ṭawq other domesticated animals such as chickens, cows, donkeys, and mules were also bred and kept within city limits. Some stable lads of the governor allegedly even bred pigs in 887/1482 to sell them to the local Venetian colony – to some outrage amongst the population. And the governors had apparently more exotic tastes in animals. Ibn Tulun mentions that their menagerie was only dissolved by the seventh Ottoman governor, Lutfi Pasha. He “killed off the wild beasts kept at the Dār al-Saʿāda: panthers, peacocks, cranes, gazells, but keeping the pigs; it is said that he felt affection for the horses” (Iʿlām al-warā bi-man waliya nāʾiban min al-Atrāk bi-Dimashq al-shām al-kubrā, 259).

Another animal present in the city but not really domesticated were the large numbers of wild or semi-wild dogs. These probably provided one answer to the garbage question, if my observations from present-day Cairo are any indication. In the evening hours, in particular, you can see those half-starved creatures rummaging through the left-overs of street markets or through the garbage bags waiting to be taken away. Vegetable left-overs would certainly also be given to domesticated herbivores (or omnivores).

Concerning human waste, the river would certainly have played a part in its removal, and most houses at the time appear to have featured at least communally used latrines or dumps such as the one depicted above. Judging by current Lebanese custom, most other garbage might have been burned.

One curious case happened in Damascus in 923, when in the context of the construction of the new Ottoman Salīmiyya Mosque an old graveyard had to give way to the construction. The graves were emptied in the dark of the night, “fearing an outrage (kalām) from the people,” as Ibn Ṭūlūn tells it. Due to the clandestine nature of this business, we do not know where they left the remains of the corpses (Mufākahat al-khillān fī ḥawādith al-zamān, vol. 2, 72).

We do know, however, that reuse of building materials was common. I will not dwell on that aspect here but rather direct the interested reader towards this article by Iman Abdulfattah on the reuse of materials in sultan Qalāwūn’s complex in Cairo.

Coming back to the large mounts and pack animals, Camel waste is inflammable and was always used by Bedouins to make fires (see Bethany Walker’s article in MSR for the use of dung pies) . The same cannot be said for the leavings of cows, sheep, or donkeys. They might have been used as fertilizers but I have not yet come across a single instance indicating how it was transported to the fields or orchards that needed fertilizing. It might have been a task for those people who commonly appear as ʿammāl, ḥammāl, or ḥammār, day laborers, porters, or donkey drivers. Tasks as well as those undertaking them were usually beneath the interests of chroniclers or scholars in general.

Nonetheless, why there is not mention of a garbage crisis in all these works. Middle Eastern cities were large by contemporary standards. The population of Cairo is frequently given at around half a million before the Black Death diminished its size considerably. It seems reasonable that this time period, starting in the mid-thirteenth century, is most promising for further research into this matter. With a heightened awareness for public safety among authors as well as public servants, we might be able to trace it at least through its consequences in the decline of public health.

From all we know this treatment did not in general apply to paper products, however. Paper disposal was common but it was in no way similar to waste disposal. The Qubbat al-Khazna in the Damascene Umayyad Mosque was, as much as the better-known Genizah synagogue in Cairo, used for the disposal of paper (and parchment, papyrus – writing surfaces in general). Yet, the disposal seems to have had an almost ritual character. People were certainly ridding themselves off these papers but they were not throwing them away haphazardly. Rather, they stored them, theoretically for perpetuity, in a safe place where those papers were supposed to be safe from dirt and other dangers.

Konrad Hirschler has suggested in several presentations that these practices actually allowed for recycling or even upcycling of such papers (careful, this opens a video of his talk at SMS, Beirut 2017). In other cases, such upcycling was exercised by inheritors of documents, who used the paper in their own book production, thus inserting the documentary information into other, literary, academic, or devotional discourses. Again, this indicates an aversion against turning paper – or writing on paper – into garbage and instead a grasp for its perpetuity.

The only exceptions I can see are rare cases of book burning. Yet, they follow the same logic of perpetuity as well. Only, the burning serves to deny a text or book that existence, irreversibly breaking up the material object into its smallest parts. Those books are denied even the status of garbage.