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The Genre of Authorial Manuscripts in the Arabic Manuscripts Tradition

From: 2023-11-22 To:2023-11-22

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  • Thematic Line

    Medieval & Early Modern Philosophy
  • Research Group

    Reason, Politics & Society
  • 22 November 2023 | 10h00 | Room 208

    Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto 


    The Genre of Authorial Manuscripts in the Arabic Manuscripts Tradition

    Codicological observations


    Walid Ghali

    Aga Khan University / Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC)


    The codicological and textual studies on Islamic manuscripts in the autograph/holograph category do not match the wealth and depth of the material available in libraries and archives, let alone private collections. Recent studies of both the history of writing and the codicological analysis of holographs have enabled researchers to decipher some of the technicalities in the making of holographs. This adds to our knowledge of philology, textual criticism, codicology and palaeography, where the manuscript studies intersect.  It also enhances our understanding of the working methods of past scholars, our comprehension of book culture and the publication process, and our grasp of the transmission of knowledge, and more simply, highlights the need to compare these specific manuscripts to acknowledge other holograph manuscripts or autograph notes by the same author.

    This talk aims to investigate this growing field of study by providing some examples of holograph/autograph manuscripts with codicological observations. These observations can be used as a tool to determine the type of manuscript (fair copy, draft, or copybook) to bring forward the challenge of the terminologies mentioned previously. I also will touch on the social aspects of the autographed manuscripts. Signed manuscripts could help researchers examine unwritten histories, such as economic or political circumstances, while writing the holograph.


    Bio: Dr Ghali is an Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at AKU-ISMC. He also leads the Aga Khan Library in the United Kingdom. He received his PhD in 2012 from Cairo University, Faculty of Arts in Arabic manuscripts traditions. He completed coursework for a Master's in Islamic Studies and a diploma in Executive Management from the Institute of Management. Dr Ghali coordinates and teaches (Paths to Sufism Course) for MA students at AKKU-ISMC. He also co-teaches in courses such as the Concept of Nation in Modern Arabic Literature and Muslim Societies in the Contemporary World. He delivers guest lectures on pre-Islamic poetry, Prose Culture and Quran Recitation at the Institute of Ismaili Studies. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Abdou-Filali Ansari's Occasional Papers published by the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.

    In 2020, Dr Ghali was elected to become a Board member of The Islamic Manuscript Association (TIMA). Dr Ghali published in different research areas. His forthcoming publication is the outcomes of working on personal documents belonging to the leading Egyptian figure and Muslim reformer, Muhammad ‘Abduh (d.1905).


    Image: Ibn Jaydān’s Full Moon, British Library Or. 7733, f. 1ar, recto side of unfoliated flyleaf after f. 1


    José Francisco Meirinhos - Joana Matos Gomes
    TL Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy
    Instituto de Filosofia da Universidade do Porto - UIDB/00502/2020
    Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)

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