Some preliminary thoughts on the question of medieval qāḍī court archives

At the moment, I am enjoying Marina Rustow’s recently published tome The Lost Archive. Traces of a Caliphate in a Cairo Synagogue. The author is speaking to a number of points which interest me, but today I will concentrate on her discussion of Hallaq’s argument about archiving at qāḍīs’ courts.

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Making books as an archival practice

Usually, posts are published on Sundays. This is an exception because today (when this is published) is my birthday. And I thought this enough to change the rule for once (and it’s more of a guideline anyway). In this post, we return to one person who has fascinated me for a while now and who has been featured here before: the Damascene book collector ʿAbd al-Salām al-Shaṭṭī. However, this time we are not just interested in his connections to Ibn Ṭūlūn manuscripts but rather in how he engaged with manuscripts for the sake of archival practices.

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Into Ibn Ṭūlūn’s Endowed Library (Part 2)

Co-authored by Melis Emre

One earlier post has outlined several obstacles in assessing Ibn Ṭūlūn’s book collection in contrast to the books he himself authored. Together with Melis Emre, a master student of Konrad Hirschler, I revisit this question here, complicating the differentiation between books Ibn Ṭūlūn owned and arguably read, and those he endowed. In short, he did not only buy books for himself but also to re-endow them in the ʿUmariyya madrasa, thereby reconstituting certain histocrical corpora.

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Ruminations on publishing pre-print

An argument that one might still find frequently about premodern Arabic historiographical and biographical writing, despite all recent findings to the contrary, is that they are derivative and repeat much of what other authors have said before. This argument has, in fact, been made towards a larger segment of premodern Arabic literature and has been rebuked in a number of other fields, as well. In this post, I will argue that one aspect might actually be understood better by comparison with current social media practice.

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