With Ibn Ḫaldūn in His Workshop: What He Read in Ibn al-ʿAmīd, What He retained, and Why

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Abstract

Ibn Khaldūn spent the last 24 years of his life in Egypt. There he enlarged the scope of his history, venturing beyond the boundaries of his own civilization. In this process, three authors played a crucial role: the Coptic-Arabic historian Ibn al-ʿAmīd al-Makīn, the Josippon, and the Arabic translation of Orosius. Adopting a “coring method”, and based on Ibn al-ʿAmīd’s forthcoming edition, this article studies the use of the Coptic historian in a very limited, but significant, sample of Ibn Khaldūn’s history, i.e. the passage devoted to the Achaemenids. The comparison between the two texts allows to draw some conclusions regarding the process of transmission of historical materials from late antiquity to Islam. First, historiography was perceived by Ibn Khaldūn and several other Muslim authors as a discipline in which non-Muslims could participate, and the Bible was generally considered as a reliable source of information. Second, the accounts on pre-Islamic history which were more likely to be preserved shared three traits: they were mostly understandable, relevant to the readers, and non-controversial.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)196-232
Numero di pagine37
RivistaQUADERNI DI STUDI ARABI
Volume16
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021

Keywords

  • Ibn Khaldun
  • Bible in Arabic
  • Ancient History in Islamic Historiography
  • Ibn al-'Amid al-Makin

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