World Philologies Seminar
Mon 04 Dec 2017 | 14:00–16:00

Said the Prophet of God: Hadith Commentary across a Millenium

Joel Blecher (George Washington University)

Freie Universität, Holzlaube, Room 2.2063, Fabeckstr. 23-25, 14195 Berlin

Although scholars authenticated and transmitted Muhammad’s sayings and practices (hadith), the story of how they interpreted and reinterpreted the content of the hadith over the past millennium has yet to be told. In this talk, historian Joel Blecher takes up this charge by illuminating the rich social and intellectual life of hadith commentary at three critical moments and locales: classical Andalusia, medieval Egypt, and early modern India. Weaving together tales of live debates, public furors, and high court rivalries with analyses of fine-grained arguments adorning the margins of manuscripts, this talk will open new avenues for scholars who study the cultural practices of reading communities and the development of textual traditions over long periods of time and geographical expanses.

Joel Blecher, PhD (2013), Princeton University, is Assistant Professor of History at George Washington University and the author of Said the Prophet of God: Hadith Commentary across a Millennium (University of California Press, 2018). His writings have also appeared in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Oriens, and The Atlantic.

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