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The paper shows that there is a pattern in the distribution of synthetic (šēp šarrim “the king's foot”) vs. analytical (kaspum ša awīlim “the boss's money”) genitive constructions in Old Babylonian. The choice depends on the lexical feature of head nouns known as (in)alienability. Old Babylonian kinship and body part terms, as well as some other substantives, are “inalienable”, which means they take only the synthetic construction. All other Old Babylonian nouns are “alienable”, which means they admit both the synthetic and the analytical construction (kasap tamkārī and kaspum ša tamkārī “the merchants’ money”). In the latter case, there is no general rule to predict the choice, yet in certain cases the two constructions display a non-random frequency distribution.
This article examines the emergence of the Ḥusaynī sayyids as key facilitators of the Mongols’ acculturation to Islamo-Persianate society and traces the expansion of their influence at imperial courts through the seventeenth century. Previous scholarship has emphasized the pivotal role of figures like Rashīduddīn Hamadānī in brokering reciprocal processes of acculturation from the empire's centre. This study builds on such work by shifting the focus to Yazd, a provincial city. It explores the evolving and unique role of Yazdī sayyids in facilitating such processes as they fashioned new patronage networks at court and reconfigured the urban morphology of Yazd. Furthermore, using local histories alongside universal ones, this study explores narrative strategies by which Yazdī authors, writing after the Mongol period, commemorated the sayyids’ emergence. It situates these writings in the context of larger transformations that affected relations between provincial elites and the imperial centre throughout these periods.
The paper addresses the frequent collocation /ir(hu)waliyan parittarwaliyan/, which occurs in Luwian incantations embedded in Hittite cuneiform ritual texts. Despite the relatively clear context, the meanings of this and similar collocations have remained obscure. Using combinatory and etymological methods, we intend to demonstrate that it hides the merism “internal (or) external”, which modifies various sorts of supernatural negative phenomena. Furthermore, we intend to argue that such an interpretation is compatible with the Late Bronze Age Anatolian beliefs about potential sources of evil. A collateral result of our demonstration is the elucidation of a number of additional contexts in the Hittite, Luwian, Lydian, and official Aramaic languages.
Both the Muslim exegetical tradition and most Western scholarship have posited that the term islām in the Quran means “submission”, i.e. to God, and that it refers to the religion brought by the prophet Muhammad. This paper argues that neither of these assertions is correct. Rather, the abstract noun islām as used in the Quran means “tradition”. It is underlain by the Aramaic mashlmānūtā, which in turn was the term generally used to translate the Greek paradosis. That the Greek usage had a direct impact on Arabic is also considered. The wide range of meanings given paradosis by Greek and Syriac authors is surveyed. A close reading of Quran verses in which the word islām appears shows that it refers to the prophetic tradition of monotheism rather than the surrender of an individual to God. It is synonymous with the Logos of Abraham, in which all the monotheistic religions participate.
This study analyses the original waqf documents belonging to Qijmās al-Isḥāqī, an amir who lived in late Mamluk Egypt and Syria, from three perspectives: first, the types of assets possessed or endowed by Qijmās and the creation of these assets; second, the contexts and purposes of establishing waqfs by comparing the data obtained from the documents and the life history of Qijmās, which was reconstructed from literary sources; and third, how his personal relationships reflected the character of his waqfs. Further, this study reveals how he selectively and strategically used the waqf system for personal and/or public benefit at different stages of his life and according to the prevalent social circumstances. This case study proves that the waqf system had multi-dimensional and complex functions: in addition to realizing its universal purpose of enabling the performance of charitable deeds, the waqf system fulfilled the founder's particularistic secular intentions and expectations.
This article considers the interface between orality and textuality in the Aramaic incantation bowls, as well as the use of performative utterances in the texts of their spells. It demonstrates that writing and writtenness were central to bowl praxis as a whole, and argues that the bowls reflect a growing understanding of writing as performative in itself. In light of this, it suggests that the use of illocutionary acts in the bowl texts reflects the (gradual and ongoing) transfer of performativity from speech to writing in Sasanian Mesopotamia. Such acts of “word magic” in the bowls as oaths and curses are more likely to represent transitional language or a kind of “oral residue” than the verbatim representation of speech or spoken acts.
While the Theragāthā contains only ten verses attributed to the Elder Kāludāyi, the Pali commentaries ascribe a further two sets of verses to him. The present article aims to carry out a detailed survey of these verses, which have so far received no scholarly attention, as a contribution to the understanding of the formation of Kāludāyi's verses in the canon and their paracanonical legacy. In this paper, the additional verses of Kāludāyi that appear in the commentaries are critically analysed in light of all other utterances attributed to him, in the canon as well as in the commentaries. The style, syntax, and wordings of specific stanzas of both series will be taken into consideration so as to evaluate their antiquity and their literary quality. When dealing with the rhetorical devices adapted in the stanzas, some Sanskrit poems are also taken into account.
Studies of Indo-Persian historiography tend to focus on the monumental compositions created at the behest of the Mughal court. This has unfortunately led to the neglect of texts from “regional” settings. The present article intends to expand the field of inquiry by studying Mir Muhammad Maʿsum's Tarikh-i Maʿsumi (completed c. 1600) which was the first Mughal-era Persian history of Sindh. I will argue that the author used the new the literary models developed by Mughal chroniclers in order to both facilitate and contest imperial domination.
This article is a comprehensive evaluation of the first learned society of the Nahḍa (Renaissance) in Beirut. I argue that Majmaʿ al-Tahdhīb (the Refinement Council, est. 1846) was not a learned society but an ad hoc seminary formed to train converts for itinerant preaching and to build camaraderie among the nascent Protestant confession. In order to unearth the mission of Majmaʿ al-Tahdhīb and amplify the voices of its members – twelve Syrians and two Americans – this essay reconstructs their biographies and the condition of the Protestant community until 1846. This case study explicates the personal and professional entanglements of these fourteen men in terms of social connections, educational opportunities, economic needs, and religious convictions. It contextualizes the early years of several prominent Nahḍa figures by highlighting the material and spiritual aspects of their lives in 1840s Beirut.
This article examines Buddhist and Jaina attitudes towards the salvation of the Magadhan king Ajātaśatru (alias Kūṇika), a narrative character found in both Buddhist and Jaina traditions. A number of Buddhist texts prophesy that Ajātaśatru, despite his next birth in hell, will attain liberation in his final birth. Jaina sources also speak of Kūṇika's descent into hell, but give no prophecy of his ultimate liberation. While the Buddhists offered various solutions to Ajātaśatru's sinful condition, the Jainas proposed no remedy to mitigate the consequences of Kūṇika's sins. The Buddhist prophecies of Ajātaśatru's eventual liberation indicate that some Buddhists in ancient India were particularly concerned with the salvation of an archetypal villain such as Ajātaśatru. The Jaina silence on Kūṇika's destiny suggests that the Jainas in general had little interest in bringing this violent figure to liberation, and deemed him incapable of overcoming his “false view of reality” (mithyātva) due to his strong passions.
Although Zoroastrian Pahlavi literature preserves few geographical and ethnographic descriptions of non-Iranian historical regions, the popular book Ayādgār ī Jāmāspīg devotes several chapters to an extensive account of the landscape, social customs and religious practices of India, China, Arabia, Barbary, Ceylon (or the region of Slavs), Mazandarān and Turkestan. These descriptions share many similarities with the accounts of Muslim geographers between the ninth and twelfth centuries ce, though they also contain many Late Sasanian elements. In providing an English translation of these passages, this article aims to identify the inhabitants of these regions as well as to provide a more precise chronology of the chapters. It argues that Zoroastrian authors in the first centuries of the Islamic era, taking as a model the new Islamic science of geography, wrote or reworked these chapters with the intention of redefining and mapping the new world around them.
This paper takes a novel approach to the question of when and how the text of the Quran was codified into its present form, usually referred to as the Uthmanic text type. In the Quran the phrase niʿmat allāh/rabbi-ka “the grace of god/your lord” can spell niʿmat “grace” either with tāʾ or tāʾ marbūṭah. By examining 14 early Quranic manuscripts, it is shown that this phrase is consistently spelled using only one of the two spellings in the same position in all of these different manuscripts. It is argued that such consistency can only be explained by assuming that all these manuscripts come from a single written archetype, meaning there must have been a codification project sometime in the first century. The results also imply that these manuscripts, and by extension, Quran manuscripts in general, were copied from written exemplars since the earliest days.
This article aims at demonstrating that the Old Khmer b/vraḥ originates from a syllabic depletion of the Sanskrit word brāhmaṇa through a monosyllabization process, a widespread diachronic phenomenon among the Mon-Khmer languages of Mainland Southeast Asia. The paper will also show that this term must have been originally used as an honorific for deities and, consequently, for royalty. It therefore respectfully disagrees with two other current hypotheses according to which b/vraḥ would be an autochthonous Mon-Khmer word or would originate in the Sanskrit/Pali word vara- “excellent, splendid, noble”. After being borrowed from Sanskrit, the Old Khmer braḥ spread via a contact phenomenon: from Old Khmer to Old Siamese, from Old Siamese to Old Shan through the “Thai Continuum”, and from Old Shan to Old Burmese. The implications of this paper are twofold: firstly, it will sketch out a pattern for the historical relationships between different peoples of Mainland Southeast Asia; then, it will propose a first phase of Indianization in Southeast Asia, namely a local reconnotation of Indo-Aryan terms according to autochthonous socio-political contingencies, and consequently bring a draft answer to the “Woltersian” question: what is the local connotation of Indo-Aryan terms?
The manuscript carrying the title Zhuangwang ji Cheng 莊王既成, from the Shanghai Museum corpus of bamboo slips, bears two related anecdotes concerning the early Chinese monarch King Zhuang of Chu. In this article, we translate both stories and offer interpretations of them both as individual texts and as a composite narrative, situating both readings in a context of intertextual references based on shared cultural memory. Approaching the anecdotes together, we argue, generates an additional layer of meaning, yielding both a deep sense of dramatic irony and a critique of the value of foreknowledge – and, by extension, of the explanatory value of historiography. In detailing how this layer of meaning is generated, we explore the range of reading experiences and approaches to understanding the past enabled by combining separate but related textual units, a prevalent mode of composition and consumption in the manuscript culture of Warring States China.
Literary sources from the Abbasid period record few descriptions of courtly masquerades and plays called samāǧa, which closely resemble sumozhe plays from eighth-century China. On the basis of these samāǧa descriptions, the present paper argues that it is possible to understand how samāǧa plays were carried out. Moreover, I argue that samāǧa performances were a Central Asian custom imported to the Abbasid court with the establishment of the Turkish corps, and that its disappearance after the caliphate of al-Muʿtaḍid signals a substantial shift in the nature of the Turkish presence in the Abbasid heartland, marked by the establishment of the mamlūk system.
Legal manuscripts excavated from tombs serve as important materials for research on Qin and Han laws. These manuscripts differ from received legal texts or law documents found at archaeological sites in nature and function, as they were stored as funeral texts in tombs. This article studies the Ernian lüling manuscript in terms of its nature and function. It argues that the manuscript compiled in the second year of Empress Lü (186 bce) nearing the death of the owner was not produced for official use but specifically for burial in the tomb. This article further proposes that the burial of the Ernian lüling manuscript may have taken place to illustrate the social status and official capabilities of the owner to the underworld. The investigation of the Ernian lüling manuscript in its archaeological context helps us achieve a stronger understanding of the dating, origins, completeness, and compilation of its text.
A widely reported story in the historiography on medieval Ethiopia relates how, in the year 1306, an “Ethiopian” embassy visited the court of Pope Clement V in Avignon and offered military aid in the fight against Islam to Latin Christianity. This article re-examines the source – Jacopo Filippo Foresti's Supplementum Chronicarum – thought to document an episode of one of the earliest European–African Christian contacts. It investigates Foresti's own sources, their historiographical transmission history, and the feasibility of relating it to the socio-political entity of Solomonic Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa in the early fourteenth century, concluding that Foresti's information was based on Latin Christian texts, such as the Legenda Aurea and the myth of Prester John, only. The ‘Ethiopian’ embassy of 1306 is thus not borne out by sources and should be dismissed in scholarship, resetting the timeline of official Ethiopian–Latin Christian contacts in the late medieval period.
In the Milarepa Life Story the Buddhist teacher Marpa issues many commands to his student, Milarepa, his wife, Dakmema, and his co-religionist, Lama Ngokpa. In these commands the co-occurrence of the imperative stem (skul tshig) and a given pronoun or vocative (khyod, bu, rang re, etc.) indicates a varying level of distance between himself and the addressee. Marpa's speech is also nuanced by the use of pronouns, vocatives, and nicknames across a variety of registers. Marpa's interlocutors, however, invariably use honorific titles and the deferential verb zhu ba to make their requests. The contrast highlights Marpa's authority, as his speech alone determines how close he is with an interlocutor at a given time.