Devin J. Stewart to Discuss Problems in the Interpretation of the Catalogue of Ibn al-Nadim

Devin J. Stewart, Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Emory College of Arts and Sciences, will give a public lecture, “The Transmission of Knowledge in Abbasid Iraq: Problems in the Interpretation of the Catalogue of Ibn al-Nadim,” which will take place Wednesday, January 27, at 4:00 p.m. in the White Levy Room in the Historical Studies-Social Science Library. This lecture is made possible by the Dr. S.T. Lee Fund for Historical Studies.

The Fihrist of Ibn al-Nadim is a catalogue of Arabic books that provides to posterity the card catalogue of the libraries of medieval Baghdad. At once a crucial source for the early development of the Islamic religious disciplines and the single most important record of the translation of Greek, Persian, and Sanskrit works into Arabic, the Fihrist remains enigmatic. Nearly a century and a half after the first modern edition in 1871-72, we are still trying to establish the text, restore lacunas, and interpret puzzling passages. After an overview of the historical investigation of Ibn al-Nadim and his work, Stewart will explore outstanding problems in interpretation of the work, including in particular his discussions of the world’s scripts and Greek scientific patrimony.


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