Intensive Summer Course: Arabic Codicology

ARABIC CODICOLOGY:  THE ISLAMIC MANUSCRIPT HERITAGE IN THE EL ESCORIAL COLLECTION

FROM 17 TO 21 JUNE 2019

Due to the use of original manuscripts during the hands-on sessions, the number of students cannot exceed 16. Thus, alongside the application form, a motivation letter (1,000-1,5000 words) and a one-page CV are required and will be considered during the selection process. Applicants have to send these documents to mss.arabicscript@gmail.com. Please note that the course will be taught in English. Application deadline is April 15th, 2019.

More information: https://arabiccodicologycourse.weebly.com/programme.html

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The VI edition of the course Arabic Codicology: the Islamic manuscript heritage in the El Escorial Collection will provide the students with the basic codicological knowledge and the research procedures needed to study and analyze Arabic manuscripts. Moreover, it will familiarize them with the libraries of the Arabic-Islamic world in Medieval and Modern times, particularly with the library that belonged to the Moroccan sultan Muley Zaydān.

The course is designed on an eminently practical dynamic. In the evenings, the students will be able to apply the theoretical knowledge previously acquired in the mornings to the actual manuscripts hosted at the Royal Library of the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial (RBME). This is the most important Arabic Manuscript Collection of Spain and one of the most relevant in Europe.

The venues of the summer courses are a privileged location due to the proximity to the Library. The course will be taught entirely in English by leading experts in Arabic Codicology Prof. Nuria de Castilla (EPHE, PSL, Paris) and Prof. François Déroche (CdF, PSL, Paris). It is sponsored by the European project SICLE (“Saadian Intellectual and Cultural Life”, ERC 670628) and is designed for historians, art historians, philologists, documentalists, antiquarians, curators, bibliophiles, conservation specialists, etc., preferably with a Master’s degree.

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Content Courtesy of Nuria de Castilla

The Qurʾān and Ethiopia: Context and Reception

The Catholic University of America extends an open invitation to next week’s symposium The Qurʾān and Ethiopia: Context and Reception. The symposium will take place on Monday April 8, 2019 from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM in May Gallery, Mullen Library.

Quran and Ethiopia EMAIL

This event is sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences, Institute of Christian Oriental Research, Center for Medieval and Byzantine Studies, Center for the Study of Early Christianity, and Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures. Interested parties should kindly RSVP to Aaron Butts via email and direct all questions to buttsa@cua.edu. Please find a detailed program at this link.

Content courtesy of Dr. Aaron Butts, Catholic University of America

Preliminary Considerations on the Corpus Coranicum Christianum: The Qur’ān in Translation – A Survey of the State of the Art | December 5 – 7, 2018, Berlin

The Corpus Coranicum project requires little introduction to the readers of this blog. Its emerging daughter project, hosted by the FU Berlin, Corpus Coranicum Christianum, developed out of the doctoral research conducted by Manolis Ulbricht, co-supervised by Angelika Neuwirth, on the early Greek translation of the Qurʾān preserved in Nicetas of Byzantium’s Refutation of the Qurʾān (c.870). At present, the long-term goal of this interdisciplinary project is to study qurʾānic translations from the seventh century to the early modern period, in the principal ‘Christian’ languages, i.e. Greek, Syriac, and Latin, comparatively, and to make these texts available online through a synoptic digital edition. The aim of this initial workshop was three-fold: (i) to bring together scholars from various disciplines working on qurʾānic translations; (ii) to establish a methodological framework for a future digital database and a comparative analysis for translation techniques; and (iii) to explore avenues for further collaboration.

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The scope of the sources included in this preliminary workshop was intentionally broad, ranging from full translations to quotations, or mere allusions to the qurʾānic text. As most source material is available in Latin, the Corpus Coranum Latinum made up the most prominent part of the programme, with three panels. In a first panel devoted to the earliest sources, the translations by Robert of Ketton and Mark of Toledo were assessed with regards to the issue of the readership (Nàdia Petrus Pons) and the presence of scientific vocabulary (Julian Yolles). In addition, the qurʾānic quotations included in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Latin translations of Arabic scientific treatises were examined (Charles Burnett). A second panel examined the sources through which Latin Christians read the Qurʾān, with papers on the Latin glosses in Latin and Arabic Qurʾāns (José Martínez Gázquez), Robert of Ketton’s use of Ṭabarī’s tafsīr (J. L. Alexis Rivera Luque), and the question of the character of Ramon Marti’s Islamic sources (Görge K. Hasselhoff). The focus of the third panel was on early modern Qurʾān translations, with papers on the sixteenth-century translation by Egidio da Viterbo (Katarzyna K. Starczewska), the seventeenth-century translation and commentary by the Jesuit, Ignazio Lomellini (Paul Shore), and the recently discovered 1632 translation by Johann Zechendorff (Reinhold F. Glei). Finally, a presentation of the ERC-funded project on the Qurʾān in European cultural history, which will commence soon, should also be mentioned here (Jan Loop).

The single panel of Greek Qurʾān translations covered both the first appearances of the Qurʾān in Byzantium, as well as the late Byzantine Period. The former period was addressed with papers on the linguistic character of the eighth – ninth-century Greek translation, especially its non-classical vocabulary (Erich Trapp), and the historical background of Muslim-Byzantine rivalry behind its emergence (Jakub Sypiański). The late period involved papers appraising the knowledge of the Qurʾān and Islam by Gregory Palamas (Evangelos Katafylis) and John VI Cantacuzene (Marco Fanelli)

Papers on the Corpus Coranicum Syriacum, the language least represented at this workshop, were presented on the qurʾānic quotations in the Arabic disputation of Abū Qurra with the Caliph al-Maʾmūn, which were compared with those contained in the Garshuni version of the Legend of Sergius Baḥīrā (Yousef Kouriyhe), and on the double/triple occurences of qurʾānic verses in Dionysius Bar Ṣalībī’s Disputation against the Arabs (Alexander M. Schilling).

A special panel on the interdisciplinary nature of the overall project and its implications was entitled Corpus Coranicum ChristianumA Digitalized Trial Version. It consisted of papers on the Greek translation preserved by Nicetas of Byzantium (Manolis Ulbricht), the Syriac excerpts from the Qurʾān in Dionysius Bar Ṣalībī’s Disputation against the Arabs (Bert Jacobs), and the Latin translation by the seventeenth-century Fransiscan Germanus de Silesia (Ulisse Cecini). Prior to the workshop, these three scholars had agreed to provide micro-editions of selected common passages (Q 3:42-7; 90:1-4; 112), which were digitally processed in an online interactive edition by Joel Kalvesmaki (see http://textalign.net/quran/). The trial session continued with a presentation on the make-up and functions of this tool (Joel Kalvesmaki), and concluded with a brief comparison of the translation techniques applied to the selected materials.

Besides the work on the sources themselves, the workshop gave special attention to the use of digital humanities in the study of qurʾānic translations. This included an introductory workshop on the goals and techniques of the DH (Nadine Arndt, Oliver Pohl), as well as presentations on the Paleocoran Project (Oliver Pohl), the interactive digital edition of the New Testament (Holger Strutwolf), Ediarum (Nadine Arndt), and the valence of TEI for editing synoptic editions (Joel Kalvesmaki).

The proceedings of this first Corpus Coranicum Christianum workshop are planned for publication. A second workshop will be held in the near future.

Bert Jacobs, KU Leuven

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2019. All rights reserved.

Suggestions for Presenting a Conference Paper at IQSA

With the IQSA Annual Meeting quickly approaching next month, there has never been a better time to catch up on Dr. Devin Stewart’s (Emory University) suggestions for effective presentations at academic conferences!


Attendance at many conferences over the years and observing the presentations of both neophytes and older scholars has proved to me that nearly no one is taught in explicit terms how to write or deliver a conference paper. For the most part scholars have learned by osmosis, watching examples, whether good, middling, or bad. It is my hope that the scholars who participate in IQSA will be able to rise above the sea of mediocrity and make excellent presentations. I have witnessed a number of papers at IQSA that fall short of that mark, and while such lapses are not more prevalent at IQSA than at other conferences, my hope for the performances at IQSA is that they will be exceptionally high.

[The following statements represent my own considered opinions. It does not represent the opinion of the IQSA board or any other identifiable body in academia. My intention in presenting these comments and guidelines is only to help improve the quality of papers at the annual conference and thus to improve the experience and edification of all conference attendees.]

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Alba Fedeli presents her work on the “Birmingham Qur’an” manuscript at the 2015 IQSA Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA.

Purpose:

The main purpose of a conference paper is to announce to the world a new result that you have discovered. In practical terms, it is also to force you to write something, or to finish writing something, that you will publish, and to get feedback from scholars in the field before you do so. If you are lucky, members of your audience may alert you to problems in your argument, plausible counter-arguments, sources you have overlooked, or relevant secondary studies you have not come across. They may push you to explain your argument better, more clearly, or more precisely. All of this will help improve the resulting publication and help ensure that you do not publish something that is unoriginal, incompletely documented, or badly argued.

Content:

A conference paper should be a report about completed research that 1) is new, 2) makes a solid argument and 3) emphasizes concrete results. Especially for this society, 4) concrete results primarily consist of concrete conclusions regarding the text of the Qur’an, its meaning, or its historical interpretation and use. This definition has several implications that may go against what young scholars have been told by their sophomoric graduate student peers or benighted advisors and what they have seen performed by droves of misguided conference-goers.

  • The content of your conference paper should not have been published before. It should be a new contribution to the field. You should not deliver a paper that is an info-mercial for your latest book. You should not present something that is an article already in press.
  • A conference paper is a report about research that you have completed. It is not a verbatim, blow-by-blow transcript of the publication you intend to complete. You do not have time to read the entire article or book chapter that you are working on. You are presenting the news story about the project you have completed. Emphasizing the results.
  • A conference paper should not be an interim progress report. While in many organizations, researchers and scholars present such reports as conference papers and lectures, doing so is akin to submitting one’s tax forms or an application for a business license. Many papers produced as part of a government-funded project or by scholars working in teams or for industry are presented as evidence that the project is moving forward and producing tangible results. However, unless the project has reached the point where there are actual results and conclusions can be drawn, it is not yet time to inflict it on the audience. It is acceptable to present something that is not 100% complete, or in which the conclusion is tentative or provisional. It is not acceptable to present something that has no identifiable conclusion yet. One should avoid presenting something that simply states that we have reached the middle of our work, this is the procedure that we are following, and this is where we stand. That is just shop-talk.
  • A conference report should not be a plan for or introduction to research that will be carried out in the future, a prolegomenon, the equivalent of the introduction to a dissertation, a book, or an article. Papers that do this are quite frequent, and leave one asking, “Where’s the beef?” Avoid presenting an introduction to a blank.
  • A conference paper must have a conclusion. Show and tell is not enough. No matter how fantastic the manuscripts you have to show are, it is insufficient merely to describe them. You must explain what they tell us that we did not know before about something greater: the historical transmission of the Qur’ān, its textual variants, patterns of copyists’ errors, and so on. A negative result is still a conclusion; it can make for a good presentation if it is interesting for some particular reason.
  • If you must present the theoretical background or describe a controversy in order to frame your results, do it quickly. An excessively long wind-up is one of the most common faults of conference papers in general. If you write an article or the introduction to your book or dissertation, you can take the time to write at length, but in a conference paper, a long introduction merely delays and in some cases completely displaces the concrete results, which is a disappointment for the audience.
  • Do not leave out the concrete results. Your colleagues in the field are most interested in these, and if you don’t get to specific results, you are robbing them. Include as many results as you can explain well in the time allotted. If you only have only a few examples, then you can spend some time. If you have many examples to choose from, select examples that are representative and can stand in for the others.  A long wind-up to a simple and small example is disappointing.
  • Your paper should take into account the relevant scholarship in the field. There may be too much for you to address in your presentation in any detail, but you should briefly indicate that you are aware of it. Especially in Qur’anic studies, there is a problem with reinventing the wheel. Do not assume that your idea has not been said before. Consult other scholars about the studies that might be relevant, especially studies in German and Arabic.

Structure:

  1. Problem or issue.
  2. Earlier scholarship on the issue, presented briefly.
  3. Your sources, method, approach, briefly
  4. Your results, conclusions [This should be the main part.]
  5. Implications

Presentation:

The single biggest problem with conference presentations in general is that presenters read a prepared text that was written as if it were a journal article or a book chapter.  If you read a prepared text, you must write it to be read aloud in the first place. Most scholars are not trained to do this type of writing. Doing so is a skill on its own, and it takes practice. An alternative is to prepare notes, a handout, or a power-point presentation, and to speak to the audience from these notes.

If you use power-point, do not read out paragraphs of text from the power-point slides—this is an insult to the audience, whom you are accusing of being inattentive or lazy.

Speaking to the audience directly is about ten times better and more engaging than reading, unless you can write like P.G. Wodehouse. Unfortunately, speaking directly to the audience is a road not taken by 80-90% of conference presenters in all fields, and not just ours.

-Dr. Devin Stewart, IQSA President Elect (Emory University)

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

Job Vacancy: Islamic Studies Associate Prof. | University of Cincinnati

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Photo Credit: https://www.uc.edu/ucomm/brand.html

The University of Cincinnati invites applications by advanced assistant and associate professors to fill the Inayat and Ishrat Malik Professorship in Islamic Studies. The position will begin in the fall of 2019. The search committee welcomes applications from scholars in the field of Islamic Studies, with research and teaching interests in such areas as Anthropology, Comparative Religion, Arabic, Ethics, Gender Studies, History, Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, and Theology.

Minimum Qualifications:

A Ph.D. is required, as well as prior teaching experience and evidence of scholarly excellence.

The successful candidate is expected to engage in research, to teach on the graduate and undergraduate  levels in their area, and to contribute, via interdisciplinary education and as appropriate, to undergraduate certificate programs in such areas as Religious Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Arabic Studies, Asian Studies, Security Studies, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. The successful candidate should be thoroughly knowledgeable in the Islamic intellectual tradition and in Qur’anic Studies. Enthusiasm to present Islamic teachings in multiple areas of thought and experience and in a style accessible to diverse student audiences is essential. This effort will include the presentation of at least one public lecture in Islamic Studies each academic year. The candidate should also have a track-record of engagement with the Islamic community, demonstrate a willingness to contribute to the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, and be able to build productive relationships with academic partners across campus and with interfaith and cultural groups in the Cincinnati area.

The tenure-track position will be housed in the department in the College of Arts & Sciences most appropriate to the candidate’s degree. Joint appointments are possible.

The successful candidate will be expected to make service contributions to the mission of that department and commensurate with the position of Professorship in Islamic Studies. The teaching load will accord with that of research-active faculty. The University of Cincinnati is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer with a strong commitment to diversity. The University is interested in qualified candidates who can contribute, through their research, teaching and service, to the diversity and excellence of the academic community, and we hope to attract applicants who have experience in promoting the success of students from diverse backgrounds. We encourage women, members of racial/ethnic/gender groups underrepresented in higher education, persons with disabilities, and veterans to apply.

For full consideration, apply online at https://jobs.uc.edu (Search Requisition #31164). A complete application will include a letter of interest, a CV, an article-length writing sample, and a one-page statement summarizing your contributions or potential contributions to diversity and inclusion as they relate to teaching, research and/or mentoring. Please use the Additional Documents function to submit the required documents. Three letters of reference must be directly submitted by recommenders to history@ucmail.uc.edu.

 

FOR ALL FACULTY HIRES: OFFICIAL ACADEMIC TRANSCRIPTS WILL BE REQUIRED AT THE TIME OF HIRE

 

The University of Cincinnati, as a multi-national and culturally diverse university, is committed to providing an inclusive, equitable and diverse place of learning and employment. As part of a complete job application you will be asked to include a Contribution to Diversity and Inclusion statement.

As a UC employee, and an employee of an Ohio public institution, if hired you will not contribute to the federal Social Security system, other than contributions to Medicare. Instead, UC employees have the option to contribute to a state retirement plan (OPERS, STRS) or an alternative retirement plan (ARP).

 

The University of Cincinnati is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer / M / F / Veteran / Disabled.

*Content courtesy of Dr. Jeff Zalar (University of Cincinnati)

Podcast Series: Introducing the Qur’ān

Professor Nicolai Sinai, of the University of Oxford, has recorded four short talks funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council which aim to introduce the general public to aspects of current research on the Qur’ān’s historical context and literary character. These are now available as podcasts online here:

podcast

Link: https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/series/introducing-quran

Although most IQSA members will be familiar with more specialised scholarship on many of the issues covered in these talks, they may be useful for teaching purposes.

The four 10 – 20 minute talks are entitled:

  1. Hovering about the Qur’an without entering into it? On the academic study of the Qur’an, asks what it means to study the Qur’ān historically and considers how historically orientated research on the Qur’ān relates to religious belief and traditional Islamic scriptural interpretation.
  2. Rekindling Prophecy: The Qur’an in its historical milieu, examines the historical context in which the material now collected in the Qur’ān was first promulgated with special attention being paid to the various groups addressed by the Qur’ān.
  3. Confirming and Clarifying: The Qur’an in conversation with earlier Judaeo-Christian traditions, discusses the fact that the Qur’an’s original audience must have been familiar with earlier Jewish and Christian traditions, which the Qur’an claims both to “confirm” and “clarify”. Narratives about Abraham and the death of Pharaoh serve to exemplify what this means.
  4. The Qur’an as literature, takes as its starting point that the Qur’ān’s compelling literary aspect was the main reason it was able to establish itself as a text believed to constitute divine revelation. It further asks how Islamic and modern Western scholars approach the Qur’ān’s literary dimension.

Sinai

Many thanks to Professor Sinai for sharing this free resource.

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.

Reading is Believing? Sacred Texts in a Scientific Age (26-28 March 2018)

DATE AND TIME

Mon, 26 Mar 2018, 16:00 – Wed, 28 Mar 2018, 14:00 BST

LOCATION

Clare College, University of Cambridge
Trinity Lane
Cambridge CB2 1TL
United Kingdom

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How have the scriptural traditions of Islam and Christianity been interpreted in the modern age? In particular, what challenges have been posed to the Bible and Qur’an by developments in science and technology? These are the core questions of this multi-disciplinary academic colloquium, which will be held at Clare College, Cambridge on 26-28 March 2018. Further details, including the Call for Papers, are available at http://sciencescripture.org/call-for-papers-reading-is-believing-sacred-texts-in-a-scientific-age/.

Registration and payment for the event can be made by following the instructions on this site. A student discount is available for attendees who are studying either full or part-time at a registered higher education institution. Proof of student status will be required at registration. All other attendees should select full-rate options on the payment page.

The event is facilitated by the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion in collaboration with the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. Any questions about the colloquium should be directed to Dr Caroline Tee at ct500@cam.ac.uk.

Registrations will close at midnight on Wednesday 14th March.

 

*Content courtesy of Dr. Caroline Tee (St. Edmund’s College) and https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/reading-is-believing-sacred-texts-in-a-scientific-age-26-28-march-2018-tickets-35899721032 

 

© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2018. All rights reserved.