A Monument to Medieval Syrian Book Culture: The Library of Ibn ʿAbd al-Hādī

A Monument to Medieval Syrian Book Culture

A Monument to Medieval Syrian Book Culture

News vom 12.12.2019

In his fourth book Prof. Dr. Konrad Hirschler studies the history of a medieval Syrian library and traces its trajectory until the present day. In the late medieval period, manuscripts galore circulated in Middle Eastern libraries. Yet very few book collections have come down to us as such or have left a documentary trail. Konrad Hirschler's book discusses the largest private book collection of the pre-Ottoman Arabic Middle East for which we have both a paper trail and a surviving corpus of the manuscripts that once sat on its shelves: the Ibn ʿAbd al-Hādī Library of Damascus. The book shows that this library was part of the owner’s symbolic strategy to monumentalise a vanishing world of scholarship bound to his life, family, quarter and home city.

In the words of Prof. Dr. Jo Van Steenbergen (Ghent University) 'this book is not only a much needed contribution to current understandings of the social and intellectual milieus of late medieval Damascus. It is itself a monument to how a turn to combining history and material philology is substantially refining, and changing, modern imaginations of Middle Eastern and Islamic history in general.'

The book is published open access with support by the Freie Universität's university library. Much of the research for the book was untertaken during a sabbatical granted by the university's Department of History and Cultural Studies.

Link to the open access publication: "A Monument to Medieval Syrian Book Culture" by Prof. Dr. Konrad Hirschler.

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