The manuscript tradition’s prestigious place in Islamic intellectual history set the scene for a recent webinar organized by the Student Council at the College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).
Held November 4, The Rediscovery and Remake of Classical Islamic Texts saw Dr. Ahmed El Shamsy, Associate Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, discussing his new publication. Entitled Rediscovering the Islamic Classics: How Editors and Print Culture Transformed an Intellectual Tradition, the book outlines the transformation of Islamic scholarship by the printing and publishing industry. Prior to their emergence Muslims memorized, argued and interacted with different philosophical and religious traditions through parchment, papyrus and paper. With this in mind, Dr. El Shamsy’s book also analyzes the impact that printing and publishing had on Islamic intellectual heritage.
Rediscovering the Islamic Classics tells the story of how editors and intellectuals helped to form today's Islamic canon by putting forgotten texts into print. In an impressively wide range of research, Dr. El Shamsy demonstrates the toil, erudition and subjectivity that went into rediscovering many of these nearly lost works. He also walked participants through the stakes, research problems and questions left unanswered in his acclaimed new book.
Speaking after the webinar, Dr. El Shamsy said: “I was delighted to have the opportunity to share my work with the students and faculty at the College of Islamic Studies, and I very much enjoyed the stimulating questions and comments raised by the engaged audience."
Ameen Omar, a student of the Master of Arts in Islamic Studies and president of the CIS Student Council, said: “It was a pleasure hosting Dr. El Shamsy for this event. His knowledge of Islamic intellectual history is paramount, and is demonstrated by the two vastly different time periods he analyzes between his first and recent books. The CIS Student Council initiated the event by organizing a book club led by a group of student volunteers who spent weeks discussing and analyzing Dr. El-Shamsy’s text. The event was an opportunity to engage CIS students with the most recent and cutting edge scholarship, an endeavor that the Student Council hopes to continue as a tradition at CIS for future semesters to come.”
For more information on the work of the College of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, please visit cis.hbku.edu.qa
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