For much of the twentieth century, the intellectual life of the Ottoman and Arabic-Islamic world in the seventeenth century was ignored or mischaracterized by historians. Ottomanists typically saw the seventeenth century as marking the end of Ottoman cultural florescence, while modern Arab nationalist historians tended to see it as yet another century of intellectual darkness under Ottoman rule. This book is the first sustained effort at investigating some of the intellectual currents among Ottoman and North African scholars of the early modern period. Examining the intellectual production of the ranks of learned ulema (scholars) through close readings of various treatises, commentaries, and marginalia, Khaled El-Rouayheb argues for a more textured – and text-centered – understanding of the vibrant exchange of ideas and transmission of knowledge across a vast expanse of Ottoman-controlled territory.
The first in-depth exploration of the intellectual concerns and trends among the scholars (ulema) of the Ottoman Empire and the Maghreb in the seventeenth century
Challenges received notions about intellectual stagnation in the period
Gives a pioneering overview of major intellectual currents in the Islamic world on the eve of modernity
Relational inferences are a well-known problem for Aristotelian logic. This book charts the development of thinking about this problem by logicians writing in Arabic from the ninth to the nineteenth century. It shows that that the development of Arabic logic did not - as is often supposed - come to an end in the fourteenth century.
Attitudes toward homosexuality in the pre-modern Arab-Islamic world are commonly depicted as schizophrenic—visible and tolerated on one hand, prohibited by Islam on the other. Khaled El-Rouayheb argues that this apparent paradox is based on the anachronistic assumption that homosexuality is a timeless, self-evident fact to which a particular culture reacts with some degree of tolerance or intolerance. Drawing on poetry, biographical literature, medicine, dream interpretation, and Islamic texts, he shows that the culture of the period lacked the concept of homosexuality.
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