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Mapping the World of a Scholar in Sixth/twelfth Century Bukhāra: Regional Tradition in Medieval Islamic Scholarship as Reflected in a Bibliography

Shahab Ahmed
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Vol. 120, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 2000), pp. 24-43
DOI: 10.2307/604883
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/604883
Page Count: 20
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Mapping the World of a Scholar in Sixth/twelfth Century Bukhāra: Regional Tradition in Medieval Islamic Scholarship as Reflected in a Bibliography
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Abstract

This article maps the world of a medieval Muslim scholar. In 597H./1200C. E., Maḥmūd al-Fāryābī, a Ḥanafī scholar in Bukhāra, compiled a book on morality and piety entitled Kitāb khāliṣat al-ḥaqāʾiq, for which he provided a bibliography of the works on which he drew. A study of that bibliography helps to reconstruct the scholarly tradition of its author. By identifying the names, dates, geographical origins, extent of scholarly travels, and doctrinal affiliations of the scholars on his list, it becomes possible to place them on a kind of intellectual map. Thus plotted on the map, the distribution of scholars illustrates the geographical space occupied by al-Fāryābī's bibliography. The great majority of scholars therein referenced are found to be from or to have worked in Khurāsān and Transoxania. The chronological distribution enables us to gain an idea of the period in which this regional tradition formed and the distribution amongst the madhhabs allows us to gauge its relative catholicity or exclusivity.

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