The Fihrist of Ibn al-Nadim as a Mirror of the Learned Elite of the Early Islamic Empire?
Dr. Devin Stewart (Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Emory University, Atlanta)
June 21, 6:30 pm, Universität Hamburg, Edmund-Siemers-Allee 1, Rm 217, 20146 Hamburg
Devin Stewart, one of the leading experts on the work of Ibn al-Nadīm, will give a lecture on the Fihrist of Ibn al-Nadīm, a bookseller in 10th-century Baghdad. Based on his experience in the book trade, Ibn al-Nadīm compiled a book that aimed to be a catalogue (fihrist) of all books ever written in (or translated into) Arabic. The books were ordered by categories and the Fihrist thus provides a kind of taxonomy of the knowledge available in ʿAbbāsid Baghdad. Since many of these books have not survived, the Fihrist is an important source for the study of the production and transmission of knowledge in the early Islamic empire. This lecture will focus on the Fihrist as a source of information on the empire’s learned elite.
Dr. Devin Stewart (Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Emory University, Atlanta) received a B.A. magna cum laude in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University in 1984, completed the CASA program in Arabic at the American University in Cairo in 1985, and earned a Ph.D. with distinction in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991. He has been at Emory since 1990 and has conducted research in Egypt and Morocco in 1992, 1996, 1998, and 2000. He has taught widely in the areas of Arabic, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies, including courses on the Qur'an, Islam, History of the Middle East, Great books of the Islamic world, and advanced seminars on Egyptian Arabic dialect and medieval Arabic texts. His research has focused on Islamic law and legal education, the text of the Qur'an, Shiite Islam, Islamic sectarian relations, and Arabic dialectology. His published works include Islamic Legal Orthodoxy: Twelver Shiite Responses to the Sunni Legal System (University of Utah Press, 1998) and a number of articles on leading Shiites scholars of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. His work on the Qur'an includes "Sajﬁ in the Qur'an: Prosody and Structure" [ Journal of Arabic Literature 21 (1990): 101-39] and "Rhymed Prose" ( Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an, forthcoming). His studies on Arabic dialects include "Clitic Reduction in the Formation of Modal Prefixes in the Post-Classical Arabic Dialects and Classical Arabic Sa-/ Sawfa." Arabica 45 (1998): 104-28, "Impoliteness Formulae: The Cognate Curse in Egyptian Arabic" Journal of Semitic Studies 42 (1997): 327-60 and other studies. At present, Dr. Stewart is working on a major investigation of manuals of Islamic legal theory (usul al-fiqh) authored between 800 and 1000 C.E., a study of rhyme and rhythm in the text of the Qur'an, and several other projects.