Date: 2/10/2018 11:46:33 AM   News ID: 1036
Report On the 25th I.R. Iran World Award for Book of the Year

Report On the 25th I.R. Iran World Award for Book of the Year

his year, after the primary selection of more than 2000 books in different fields of Islamic and Iranian Studies, 208 books were assessed, from which 9 books entered the final stage of evaluation.

This year, after the primary selection of more than 2000 books in different fields of Islamic and Iranian Studies, 208 books were assessed, from which 9 books entered the final stage of evaluation.

These evaluated books in the field of Islamic Studies include the following subfields: Acts and Life of the Prophet, Islamic Economics, Theology, Ethics, Translation of  Qur&rsquoān, Jurisprudence & Islamic Law,  Qur&rsquoānic Sciences,  Qur&rsquoānic Studies & Interpretation, Philosophy & Mysticism, Contemporary Islam, History of Islamic Civilization, Shi&rsquoite Studies, Political Sciences in the World of Islam, Women&rsquos Rights, the History of Science, Art & Islamic Architecture. The evaluated books in the field of Iranian Studies include the following subfields: Pre-Islamic Iran, Military Sciences, Ancient Iranian Civilization, Handicrafts, Art & Iranian Architecture, Literary Criticism, Persian Language & Literature, Persian Literature & Poetry, Iranian Sociology, Manuscripts Studies, Contemporary History of Iran, History and Thought of the Islamic Revolution Thinkers, and Islamic Sufism.

The evaluated books have been written in English, French, German, Italian, Arabic, Georgian, Chinese, Greek, Turkish, Bosnian, Urdu, Finnish, and Serbian languages.

The winners are from Germany, Bulgaria, Switzerland, US, France, Italy, India, Sueden, and Iran. 

Epistles of the Brethren of Purity

Sciences of the Soul and Intellect, Part III

An Arabic Critical Edition and English Translation of Epistles 39-41

Carmela Baffioni Ismail K. Poonawala

Oxford University Press in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2017

 

The Ikhwān al-Safā' (Brethren of Purity), the anonymous adepts of a tenth-century esoteric fraternity based in Basra and Baghdad, hold an eminent position in the history of science and philosophy in Islam due to the wide reception and assimilation of their monumental encyclopaedia, the Rasā'il Ikhwān al-Safā' (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity). This compendium contains fifty-two epistles offering synoptic accounts of the classical sciences and philosophies of the age divided into four classificatory parts, it treats themes in mathematics, logic, natural philosophy, psychology, metaphysics, and theology, in addition to didactic fables.
Epistles 39 and 40 refer to the Aristotelian philosophy of certain earlier Epistles. Yet the topics taken up here are considered by the Ikhwān in light of theological issues, affording an occasion to refute eternalism. Epistle 39 explains movement and rest, the kinds of physical movement, and the species of moved beings, before introducing the divine Mover and the idea that when He ceases to move the world, it will end. The highly composite Epistle 40 addresses themes beyond the various types of causes and effects, including 'divine gifts', God's origination and organization of the world, emanation, and the frequently invoked analogy of numbers. Drawing heavily on al-Kindi's risālah of the same name, the main section of Epistle 41: 'On the Definitions and Descriptions' conforms to the title, defining variously categorized phenomena then follows a diverse range of chapters detailing colours, numbers, ratios, and geometry. The detailed survey of the world presented in these three Epistles concludes the penultimate section of the encyclopaedia, on soul and intellect.

Carmela Baffioni has previously been Professor of the History of Islamic Philosophy and the History of Muslim Philosophies and Sciences at the University of Naples &lsquoL&rsquoOrientale&rsquo until 2012 and currently is Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies. Besides the Ikhwān al-Safāʾ, her articles focus on al-Kindi, al-Farabi, Yahya ibn ʿAdi, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), and Ibn Rushd (Averroes). She has also translated books from German and Russian. Some of her publications are about forty items in the Encyclopaedia Filosofica, and the revision and edition of the catalogue of manuscripts of the Ahel Habott Foundation (Chinguetti), in Arabic and French.

Ismail K. Poonawala is Professor Emeritus of Arabic and Islamic Studies in the University of California, Los Angeles, where he taught from 1974 to 2012. He has also taught at McGill and Harvard universities.  A specialist in early intellectual history of Islam, he is the author, critical editor of Arabic texts and translator of more than a dozen books. &ldquoThe Pillars of Islam&rdquo is one of his eminent books.  He has also written numerous articles in refereed journals and contributed to various encyclopaedias, such as the Encyclopaedia of Islam, Encyclopaedia Iranica, Encyclopaedia of Religion, Encyclopaedia of Islamic Jurisprudence (in Persian), and the Great Islamic Encyclopaedia (in Persian). His research area is Arabic and Persian language and literature, the history of Islam, and Greek and Islamic philosophy. 

 

***

The Medieval Reception of the Shāhnāma as a Mirror for Princes

Nasrin Askari

BRILL, 2016

Through examination of a range of medieval sources, this book demonstrates that, in the medieval period, Firdausī&rsquos work was primarily understood as a book of wisdom and advice for kings and courtly élites. It is argued that studying the Shāhnāma in this context would shed considerable light on the meaning of its enigmatic tales. A key finding of this monograph is the identification of a particular genre of literature known as the ikhtiyārāt-i Shāhnāma (selections from the Shāhnāma), consisting of thematically organized verses selected from the Shāhnāma, the predominant themes of which are statecraft and kingship. This research also reveals that, contrary to the common assumption, the Shāhnāma had been a celebrated work in the eleventh and twelfth centuries- that is, before the earliest extant manuscript of the Shāhnāma- which is dated to 1217. In order to illustrate the ways in which the Shāhnāma functions as a mirror for princes, the author analyses the account about Ardashīr (224&ndash241 C.E.), the founder of the Sasanian dynasty, in the Shāhnāma. Drawing on evidence from Zoroastrian literature, it is argued that Ardashīr is represented in the Shāhnāma as a savior figure. Within this context, it is explained why the idea of the union of kingship and religion, a major topic in almost all medieval Persian mirrors for princes, has often been attributed to Ardashīr. The Ardashīr cycle in the Shāhnāma is also compared to nine early medieval Persian works of advice for rulers in order to demonstrate that the portrayal of Ardashīr in the Shāhnāma corresponds to the ethico-political precepts provided in later Perso-Islamic works of advice for rulers. The comparative analysis in this part of the book traces the pre-Islamic roots of some of the main concepts found in the medieval Perso-Islamic advisory literature. 

Nasrin Askari completed her Ph.D. in 2012 at the University of Toronto. She is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher and Teaching fellow in the Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia. She has conducted research at the Bodleian Library, as a Bahari Visiting Scholar in the Persian Arts of the Book, and has presented papers on the interactions of text and image in the Persian arts of the book at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. Her research papers have appeared in the peer-reviewed journals Iranian Studies and Narrative Culture.

***

The Formation of the Islamic Understanding of Kalāla in the Second Century AH (718&ndash816 CE)

Between Scripture and Canon

Pavel Pavlovitch

BRILL, 2016

 

This monograph studies a capacious body of traditions (ḥadīth) devoted to the lexical and terminological meaning of the word kalāla, found in the Qurʾān 4:12 and 4:176. The examination of twenty-nine clusters of kalāla traditions included in the book shows that efforts to decipher this enigmatic word began in the last decades of the first century A.H./ 700&ndash718 C.E. acknowledging its unintelligibility. During the second century A.H./eighth century C.E., these scholarly exertions contributed to the wide circulation of kalāla traditions associated with early Islamic authorities, before all, the second caliph, ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb. Medinese scholars promulgated traditions defining kalāla as a person who dies leaving no lineal heirs by contrast, Kufan scholars asserted that kalāla signifies the collateral relatives who inherit from such a person. The analysis of kalāla traditions sheds insight into the changing conception of scripture in Islam, the early development of Islamic exegesis and jurisprudence, and the attitude towards constituent sources of Islamic law. This book highlights the importance of a coherent and disciplined approach to dating and reconstructing ḥadīth. Kalāla traditions are treated by a modified version of the method known as isnād-cum-matn analysis. This approach, which may be described as &ldquotextual archeology,&rdquo consists of two complementary aspects. This twofold procedure allows for reconstructing the base version of the matn as it was formulated and transmitted by the common link. 

Pavel Pavlovitch, Ph.D. is Professor of Medieval Arabic Civilization at Sofia University &ldquoSt. Kliment Ohridski&rdquo. He has published in the fields of pre-Islamic and early-Islamic history, early Muslim jurisprudence and exegesis, Islamic prosopography, and the methodology of dating and reconstructing Muslim traditions. He is a member of Union Européenne des Arabisants et Islamisants (UEAI).

***

A State of Mixture

Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity

Richard E. Payne

University of California Press, 2016

 

Christian communities flourished during late antiquity in a Zoroastrian political system, known as the Iranian Empire that integrated culturally and geographically disparate territories from Arabia to Afghanistan into its institutions and networks. Whereas previous studies have regarded Christians as marginal, insular, and often persecuted participants in this empire, A State of Mixture demonstrates their integration into elite networks, adoption of Iranian political practices and imaginaries, and participation in imperial institutions. The rise of Christianity in Iran depended on the Zoroastrian theory and practice of hierarchical, differentiated inclusion, according to which Christians, Jews, and others occupied legitimate places in Iranian political culture in positions subordinate to the imperial religion. Christians, for their part, positioned themselves in a political culture not of their own making, with recourse to their own ideological and institutional resources, ranging from the writing of saints&rsquo lives to the judicial arbitration of bishops. In placing the social history of East Syrian Christians at the center of the Iranian imperial story, A State of Mixture explains the endurance of a culturally diverse empire across four centuries.

Richard Payne is a historian of the Iranian world in late antiquity. His research focuses primarily on the dynamics of Iranian imperialism, specifically how the Iranian (or Sasanian) Empire successfully integrated socially, culturally, and geographically disparate populations. He also maintains interests in the social history of Christian and Zoroastrian communities in the early Islamic world, the interaction of the Near East with Central and Inner Asia, and the comparative study of ancient empires in the Near East and the Mediterranean. Payne completed a doctorate in history at Princeton University in 2009. He was awarded the Bliss Prize from Dumbarton Oaks. For A State of Mixture, he was awarded from the American Philosophical Society, the International Society for Iranian Studies, and the American Academy of Religion. His published books include &ldquoCosmopolitanism and Empire&rdquo, &ldquoThe Archeology of Sasanian Politics&rdquo, and &ldquoVisions of Community in the Post-Roman World&rdquo. He has also published papers on the Persian and Islamic history in peer-refereed journals. 

***

La céramique dans l'architecture en Iran au XVe siècle

les arts qarâ quyûnlûs et âq quyûnlûs

Sandra Aube

PUPS, Presses de l'Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2017

 

The 15th century witnessed a major turning point in the development of ceramic tile in Iranian architecture. However, art historians have long neglected the artistic output of the two Turkmen dynasties that dominated a large part of the Iranian territory during this period, the Qarā Quyûnlûs and, later, the Âq Quyûnlûs, even though both produced thriving cultural centers, remarkable in their time. 

By studying decorative ceramic tiles from this period, Sandra Aube restores this missing Turkmen link to its essential place in the history of Iranian art. In this richly illustrated volume, she analyses nearly thirty architectural ensembles, some of them little-known and a few, such as the Blue Mosque of Tabriz, already legendary. Considered together, these architectural sites shed new light on the roles of patrons and of craftsmen and on the organization and functioning of workshops, as well on the various decorative techniques used in late medieval Iran.

These ceramic works, presented in coherent regional groupings, will transport the reader to Tabriz, the innovative Turkmen capital, on towards Ispahan, Yazd and Central Iran, and finally, following in the footsteps of the craftsmen who made them, all the way into Anatolian lands.

Sandra Aube (Ph.D. in Islamic Art, Paris-Sorbonne University, 2010) is currently employed as researcher at the CNRS &ndash UMR 7528 Mondes iranien et indien (Paris). She is member of the DYNTRAN project: &ldquoDynamics of Transmission: Families, Authority and Knowledge in the Early Modern Middle East (15th-17th c.)&rdquo (ANR-DFG, 2015-2018). Her research focuses on the architectural decoration, as well as on the transmission of skills and artistic traditions in Medieval and Pre-Modern Iran and Central Asia. She coedited with Éric Vallet and Thierry Kouamé the volume Lumières de la Sagesse. Écoles médiévales d&rsquoOrient et d&rsquoOccident (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne/IMA, 2013), and with Maria Szuppe: Channels of Transmission: Family and Professional Lineages in the Early Modern Middle East (Special Issue of the journal Eurasian Studies, 15/2, 2017).

***

Mountain Peoples in the Ancient Near East

The Case of the Zagros in the First Millennium BCE

Silvia Balatti

Harrassowitz Verlag. Wiesbaden, 2017

 

Since Prehistory, communities principally engaged in herding activities have occupied the intermontane valleys and plains of the Zagros (Western Iran). Relations, tensions and cultural exchange between the inhabitants of the mountains and the Mesopotamian plains already occurred during the Bronze Age. These contacts increased in the course of the 1st millennium B.C.E., as is suggested by Near Eastern and subsequently by Greek and Latin sources which provide us with numerous new names of peoples living in the Zagros. The present volume investigates the social organisation and life style of the peoples of the Zagros Mountains in the 1st millennium BCE and deals with their relationships with the surrounding environment and with the political authorities on the plains. 

Among these peoples, for example, were the &lsquofierce&rsquo Medes, breeders and purveyors of fine horses, the Manneans, who inhabited a large territory enclosed between the two contending powers of Assyria and Urartu, and the &lsquowarlike&rsquo Cosseans, who bravely attempted to resist the attack of Alexander the Great&rsquos army. The Southern Zagros Mountains, inhabited by mixed groups of Elamite and Iranian farmers and pastoralists, were also of key importance as the home of the Persians and the core area of their empire. Starting from Fārs, the Persians were able to build up the largest empire in the history of the ancient Near East before Alexander. 

The interdisciplinary approach adopted in this study, which juxtaposes historical records with archaeological, zooarchaeological, palaeobotanical and ethnographic data, provides a new, holistic and multifaceted view on an otherwise little-known topic in ancient history.

Silvia Balatti is postdoctoral researcher in Ancient History at the University of Kiel (Germany). After earning a Master&rsquos degree in Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the University of Pavia (Italy), she carried out research on ancient Iran under the supervision of Professor Josef Wiesehöfer in the framework of the Graduate School &ldquoHuman Development in Landscapes&rdquo at Kiel University. Here, she was awarded her Ph.D. in 2014 for a thesis on the ancient peoples of the Zagros Mountains. In 2015, Balatti received the Johanna Mestorf Award for outstanding dissertations in the field of human-environmental research and landscape archaeology.

 

***

Annotation and Translation of Tānksūqnāmeh

The Ilkhanate Treasure Book of Khatay&rsquos Sciences and Technologies

Shi Guang

Peking University Press, 2016

 

Tānksūqnāmeh-e Īlkhān dar funūn-e &lsquoulūm-e Khātay (The Ilkhanate Treasure Book of Khatay&rsquos Sciences and Technologies) was translated from some well-known Chinese medical works into the Persian language in 713 A.H. by the order of Rashīd ud-Dīn Faẓl Allāh Hamedāni, the famous Vazīr of Ilkhanate Dynasty. Today the only manuscript of this book is kept in the Aya Sofia library, Istanbul, Turkey. In 1971, a book based on a photostat copy of Tanksūqnāmeh was published in Iran, which included a preface of Mojtaba Minavi. This Persian manuscript shows very close cultural exchanges between China and Iran during that period and could be some valuable materials for social studies of China&rsquos Song & Yuan Dynasties. 

The first part of Annotation and Translation of Tānksūqnāmeh collects the information of this manuscript and mentions the Rashīd ud-Dīn&rsquos efforts for the promotion of medical science in Iran. The original book of Tanksūqnāmeh actually included four volumes, but today Volume One (Sphygmology) is the only part we could have access to. In this part, researches of Tanksūqnāmeh which were done in the past several years in different countries of the world and the catalog of Volume One of Tanksūqnāmeh are introduced in detail. All of Chinese medical scientists and historical Chinese medical works that were quoted in Tanksūqnāmeh are also described in brief. The second part of this book is the Chinese translation of the whole text of Tanksūqnāmeh with particular annotation.

Shi Guang is Associate Professor of Persian Language and Literature at Peking University. His research area is Iranian culture and Persian language and literature, and has received Nomination Award (Group of Ph.D. thesis) from "Supporters of Manuscripts", Iran, 2010

***

Herausforderung Islam

Christliche Annäherungen

Klaus von Stosch

Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, 2017

 

Today, Islam is portrayed in a negative light. Western media and academics claim time and again that Islam struggles to reconcile itself with individual freedom and democracy. While Christianity is regarded as the cradle of enlightenment, Islam is, on the other hand, posed as fundamentally alien to European culture.

Considering this charged sociocultural environment, in which Islam is either stigmatized as the opponent of Europe or incorporated into the realms of an ever-debated conceptualization of pluralism, this book attempts to offer a different and more nuanced account. In following the model of the late Wittgenstein, who borrowed the famous line, &ldquoI&rsquoll teach you differences&rdquo, from King Lear, the discourse of my work illuminates the differences between Islam and Christianity. This book argues that highlighting and truly understanding these differences can serve to deeply enrich Christianity, initiating processes of learning and scrutiny instead of the division and segregation that reign today. This book productively contrasts Islam and Christianity. This innovative approach is accomplished through comprehensive discussions on the Qur&rsquoan, Muhammad and the Muslim imagery of God (Chapters I-III) on the one hand, and Islamic Law, the conception of humankind, and the challenging issue of violence, on the other (Chapters IV-VI). This study also explores the controversial issues that dominate contemporary debates, ranging from the headscarf to attempts to legitimize violence against other religious groups, and concluding with questions related to Shari&rsquoah. The final chapter elaborates in detail the relationship between Islam and Christianity, proposing myriad ways in which Christians can learn from encounters with Muslims, and, perhaps most importantly, the role that Islam can play in the Christian salvation narrative (Chapter VII). 

Klaus von Stosch is Professor of Systematic Theology and head of the Centre of Comparative Theology and Cultural Studies at the University of Paderborn. His areas of research are comparative theology, faith and reason, problem of evil, the response of Christian theology to Islam, Christology, and theology of the Trinity. His recent publications include Komparative Theologie als Wegweiser in der Welt der Religionen (2012) Theodizee (2013) Trinität (2016).

 

***

Wissensvermittlung im Gespräch

Eine Studie zu klassisch-arabischen Dialogen

Regula Forster

BRILL, 2017

 

 This 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&rsquos 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. 

Regula Forster has been SNSF Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) since 2016. She has studied Arabic, German, and Philosophy at the Universities of Zurich, Tübingen (Germany) and Birzeit (Palestine). In 2005, she has earned her Ph.D. from the University of Zurich with a thesis on the Pseudo-Aristotelian Sirr al-Asrār. In 2008, after working in German Studies in Zurich and Oxford, she was appointed Junior Professor of Arabic at the Freie Universität Berlin (Germany), from where she earned her Habilitation in 2015.