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.
Khaled El-Rouayheb is a Professor of Islamic Intellectual History in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, Massachusetts. He specializes in Arabic and Islamic intellectual history, especially in the period from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries. He is the author of Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800 (2005) and Relational Syllogisms and the History of Arabic Logic, 900-1900 (2010). He is also co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Philosophy (with Sabine Schmidtke, 2016).
Part I. 'The Path of the Kurdish and Persian Verifying Scholars': 1. Kurdish scholars and the reinvigoration of the rational sciences; 2. A discourse of method: the evolution of adab al-bahth; 3. The rise of 'deep reading'; Part II. 'Saving Servants from the Yoke of Imitation': 4. Maghrebi 'theologian-logicians' in Egypt and the Hejaz; 5. The condemnation of 'imitation' (taqlid); 6. Al-Hasan al-Yusi and two theological controversies in seventeenth-century Morocco; Part III. 'The Imams of Those Who Proclaim the Unity of Existence': 7. The spread of mystical monism; 8. Monist mystics and neo-Hanbali traditionalism; 9. In defense of wahdat al-wujud.