Wissensvermittlung im Gespräch Eine Studie zu klassisch-arabischen Dialogen By
 Regula Forster
Publisher Brill Pub Date 2017 Pub Location DE Isbn 0 Course(s)


his is the first book-length study about the usage of the form of literary dialogue in Arabic literature. Regula Forster studies an extensive corpus of Classical Arabic didactic dialogues on very different subjects from the 2nd A.H. /8th C.E. to the mid-5th A.H./11th C.E. centuries. She includes prose works like Masāʾil Nāfiʿ b. al-Azraq, the dialogues of the Shīʿī al-Mufaḍḍal b. ʿUmar, the legal dialogues of ash-Shāfiʿī, Ismāʿīlī dialogues like that of Abū Ḥātim al-Rāzī, but also dialogues with God (Abū l-Layth al-Samarqandī’s Asrār al-waḥy and the Munājāt Mūsā), dialogues included in works of classical adab (e.g. Kalīla wa-Dimna) or autobiographies (Kitāb al-Munāẓarāt; al-Muʾayyad fī l-Dīn ash-Shīrāzī), dialogues on history (Akhbār al-Yaman) and grammar (the disputation between Abū Bishr Mattā and Abū Saʿīd al-Sīrāfī), and a large number of dialogues on alchemy, astrology, and medicine. She shows that Arabic dialogues are by no means dialogised treatises. Rather, most authors choose this literary form consciously and create a literary universe of their own. In this universe, figures are shown to be acting and speaking in time and space. Arguments and discussions are embodied as performed on stage. The dialogues use specific forms of argumentation and structuring. By using the literary form of dialogue the content of these texts is shaped and the knowledge presented channelled, both on the level of the literary text and towards the reading public. Dialogues can be seen as literary reflections of real teaching situations, especially in religious and legal matters, but also in agonal disputations. The ideal of orality was one of the important factors for the success of this literary form: Knowledge should be transmitted from teacher to student orally, this idea is a central tenet of Medieval Islamic societies, and is clearly reflected in the texts studied in this book.