Prof. Dr. Ronny Vollandt
Ludwig-Maximilians Universität Munich
Ronny Vollandt is a Professor of Judaic Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich. Having graduated in 2007 with BA in Judaic Studies at Freie Universität Berlin and a MA in Arabic Language and Literature at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Volland completed a Ph.D. in Semitic Philology under the supervision of Prof. Geoffrey Khan at the University of Cambridge in 2011. His research focuses on the Arabic versions of the Bible and biblical exegesis in the Arabic language, more broadly, medieval Christian- and Judaeo-Arabic literature. His current activities center around a number of projects: a curriculum that teaches the history of Jews in the Near East, the planning of an inter-faculty MA course in Jewish Studies at the LMU and a major research project “Biblia Arabica – The Bible in Arabic among Jews, Christians and Muslims” (https://biblia-arabica.com/, co-directored with Camilla Adang, Tel Aviv University, and Meira Polliack, Tel Aviv University and Andreas Kaplony (LMU), as well as formerly Sabine Schmidtke (now IAS, Princeton)), funded by the DFG. Together with Prof. Dr. Arianna D’Ottone Rambach (Sapienza - Università di Roma) and Prof. Dr. Konrad Hirschler (FU), he will convene a conference on the Qubbat al-khazna of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, which stands as one of the most significant, albeit little known and poorly researched, manuscript repositories in the Middle East. http://www.geschkult.fu-berlin.de/e/islamwiss/Termine/Program-and-time-schedule.pdf
Course Title: Books and their Jewish, Christian and Muslim Readers
The course will combine two, already intrinsically connected, fields of research: intellectual history and the history of the book. Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities in the Near East from medieval to early-modern times were exceedingly bookish and much of what the intellectual historian of this region knows comes from the books and the documents that these communities left behind. Taking a comparative approach, the aim of this course is survey how particular bodies of knowledge turned into texts in books (often within an oral context), how these texts formed a hierarchy (seemingly the Hebrew/Christian Bible and Quran at the center), and how a set of textual practices (recitation, commentaries, translations) emerged.
We will try to also understand how these books were produced in a very concrete material way (writing materials, different forms of books), how they were stored (libraries) and, eventually, how they were discarded (Genizahs) when not used any longer.