‘Jewish-Muslim Intellectual History Entangled’, a new publication co-edited by Jan Thiele (ILC)


The book unearths forgotten texts that once belonged to the library of the Karaite community in Cairo. Consigned to oblivion for centuries, many of these manuscripts were sold in the second half of the nineteenth century to the National Library of Russia in St Petersburg, where they remained inaccessible to most scholars until the end of the Cold War.

The texts from the Karaite library cover a remarkable spectrum of medieval literary genres and scholarly disciplines, spanning works by Jewish, Muslim and Christian authors, in both Hebrew and Arabic. As such, they provide unique access to an otherwise lost body of literature from the medieval Islamicate world.

The present volume presents, for the first time, edited fragments of six texts by adherents of the Muʿtazila, a school of rational theology that emerged in the eighth century CE, including Karaite copies and recensions of works by Muslim authors, notably ʿAbd al-Jabbār al-Hamadhānī and ʿAbd Allāh b. Saʿīd al-Labbād, as well as original Jewish Muʿtazilī treatises. The collection is concluded by an anonymous Rabbanite refutation of the highly influential polemical tract against Judaism, entitled Ifḥām al-yahūd. This collection offers unprecedented insights into the intellectual crossroads between Muslims and Jews of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Jewish-Muslim Intellectual History Entangled: Textual Materials from the Firkovitch Collection, Saint Petersburg, has been published by the University of Cambridge and OpenBook Publishers as part of the Open Access book series ‘Cambridge Semitic Languages and Cultures’.

Jewish-Muslim Intellectual History Entangled: Textual Materials from the Firkovitch Collection, Saint Petersburg
Camilla Adang, Bruno Chiesa, Omar Hamdan, Wilferd Madelung, Sabine Schmidtke and Jan Thiele (eds) | August 2020
Semitic Languages and Cultures vol. 4 | ISSN: 2632-6906 (Print); 2632-6914 (Online)
504 pp. | 18 b&w (pbk)/colour (hb) Illustrations | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783749676
ISBN Hardback: 9781783749683
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783749690
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0214