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Sabine Schmidtke is Professor of Islamic Intellectual History in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ
For a full curriculum vitae and list of publication, see here.
For my Collection of Manuscript Surrogates (the list is continuously being expanded), see here.
For my recent monograph The Beginnings of Shi’i Studies in Germany: Rudolf Strothmann and His Correspondence with Carl Heinrich Becker, Ignaz Goldziher, Eugenio Griffini, and Cornelis van Arendonk, 1910 through 1926, see here.
For current events and scholars in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Historical Studies, see here.
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- Rudolf Strothmann and the Beginnings of Zaydi Studies in Germany(leidenarabichumanitiesblog, 2023-03-12)
- YEMEN UNDER THE RULE OF IMAM YAHYA (1904-1948) A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE SOURCES(2023)YEMEN UNDER THE RULE OF IMAM YAHYA (1904-1948): A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE SOURCES WORKSHOP CONVENORS: Sabine Schmidtke (IAS Princeton), Marieke Brandt (ÖAW/AAS), Valentina Sagaria Rossi (IAS Princeton), Jan Thiele (CSIC Madrid) A workshop supported by the Gerard B. Lambert Foundation
- התיאולוגיה המעתזלית והשתקפותה בהגותם של יוסף אלבסיר וסהל (ישר) אלתסתרי(Tel Aviv: Goldstein Goren Diaspora Research Center, 2022)
- Scholarly Correspondences Among Orientalists during the Early and Late Modern Period as a Historical Source: A Series of Lectures(2023)The object of this lecture series is to bring together scholars and librarians engaged with collections of correspondences and/or include related projects that use appropriate digital tools to map and analyze such corpora. It is hosted by Sabine Schmidtke (NES@IAS) and María Mercedes Tuya (Digital Scholarship@IAS).
- The David Thomas Gochenour Collection of Zaydi Yemeni Manuscripts(2022)In 1984, David Thomas Gochenour completed a study titled “The Penetration of Zaydi Islam into Early Medieval Yemen,” which was submitted as a doctoral dissertation to Harvard University in May 1984. It was followed by Gochenour’s study, “A Revised Bibliography of Medieval Yemeni History in light of Recent Publications and Discoveries,” published in volume 63 (1986) of Der Islam. Both publications constituted important landmarks in the scholarly exploration of Zaydism at the time—Gochenour’s doctoral dissertation was a first attempt to write a social history of Yemeni Zaydism during the medieval period, and his 1986 article provided a first comprehensive overview of the relevant historical sources, Sunni, Zaydi, and Ismāʿīlī, and the publication activities in Yemen at the time. Having spent a fair amount of time in Yemen himself, Gochenour was involved in direct conversation with some of the leading Yemeni historians at the time and he had access to some of the public and private libraries. During the preparation of his studies, Gochenour assembled a remarkable collection of manuscript surrogates, in microfilm as well as on paper. On 31 March 2022, D. Thomas Gochenour visited the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton NJ and donated at this occasion his collection to the library of the IAS. In doing so, he wishes to make the material accessible to scholarship. To facilitate this, I am presenting here an annotated list of the holdings of David Thomas Gochenour Collection, which can be accessed through the Historical Studies–Social Science Library of the Institute for Advanced Study. The material may be consulted by scholars by appointment in the Library. Selected items that are not accessible in digital form elsewhere, will also be digitized and made accessible through the Zaydi Manuscript Tradition Project (ZMT) that is jointly curated by the Institute for Advanced Study and Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML).
- Masʾala fī anna ijmāʿ ahl al-bayt ḥujja, Abī ʿAbd Allāh al-Ḥusayn b. Ismāʿīl al-Ḥasanī al-Jurjānī al-Shajarī(Mominoun Without Borders: Qism al-Dirāsāt al-Dīniyya, 2022)هذا المقال هو عبارة عن أحد فصول مجلة الدراسات الشيعية، المجلد السادس، Studies Shii 6 Review ،الصادرة عام 2022 ،ويُطلق على هذا الفصل عنوان عام، وهو »كنوز الشيعة في مكتبات أمريكا الشمالية وأوروبا«، من الصفحة 381-422 ،والذي نشرته دار بريل. ويُ ُ عنى هذا المقال بمسألة مهمة، للغاية، وهي بيان حجية إجماع أهل البيت عند الزيدية، حسب ما عالجها اإلمام الموفق باهلل الحسين بن إسماعيل الحسني الجرجاني الشجري، وهو )من علماء القرن الخامس الهجري/القرن الحادي عشر الميالدي(. وهذه المسألة قد تمت الكتابة فيها من قبل اإلمام الموفق باهلل، ومن ُ بعده. ولذا أحببت إيصال هذه المقالة للباحثين والقراء العرب، والمهتمين. ً، دراسة للمؤلف وللمخطوطة، ثم تبع ذلك تحقيق األطروحة، والموسومة ولقد تناولت هذه المقالة، بداية ُ بـ »مسألة في أن إجماع أهل البيت، عليهم السالم، حجة«. وقد شارك في إعداد هذا المقال: األستاذ الدكتور/ حسن أنصاري، وهو أستاذ متخصص في الدراسات التاريخية والفقه اإلسالمي وعلم الالهوت، ويعمل بمعهد الدراسات المتقدمة، ببرينستون نيوجيرسي، بالواليات المتحدة األمريكية. واألستاذة الدكتورة/ زابينه ً اشميتکه، وهي أستاذة في الدراسات التاريخية بمعهد الدراسات المتقدمة، ببرينستون نيوجيرسي. وأخيرا، الباحث / عمار جمعة فالحية زاده، وهو باحث مستقل. وهذه الترجمة العربية هي استمرار من المترجم لترجمة القيّم من الدراسات الدينية لتعريف القارئ ً العربي بما يتم من دراسات وأبحاث في مجال الدراسات اإلسالمية، واستمرارا في التعاون بين المترجم واألستاذ الدكتور: حسن أنصاري في ترجمة أعماله. فإن استحقت هذه الترجمة الرضا، فذلك من هللا، وإن كان من خطأ، فهو من المترج
- Medieval (and Premodern Muslim Scholars at Work: A Symposium in Honor of Etan Kohlberg(2022)A one-day symposium for Etan Kohlberg, eminent scholar and teacher, great friend and colleague, revolving around the topic of “Medieval (and Premodern) Muslim Scholars at Work”, evoking the title of Etan’s seminal monograph of 1992 on Ibn Ṭāwūs.
- "Medieval Imāmī Thought Collection"--Inventory(2022)The "Medieval Imāmī Thought Collection" comprises surrogates of the manuscript material that has been consulted during the preparation of Hassan Ansari and Sabine Schmidtke, Al-Šarīf al-Murtaḍā's Oeuvre and Thought in Context: An Archaeological Inquiry into Texts and their Transmission, 2 vols, Cordoba: UCOpress, 2022 (see also https://albert.ias.edu/handle/20.500.12111/6508). The Historical Studies–Social Science Library of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, kindly agreed to make available those surrogates under the file name "Medieval Imāmī Thought Collection." These may be consulted by scholars by appointment in the Library (https://www.ias.edu/library/hs).
- Shii Studies Review Volume 6 (2022)(2022)A refereed journal with an international editorial and advisory board, the Shii Studies Review provides a scholarly forum for researchers specializing in all fields of Shii studies. Issued twice a year, the journal publishes peer-reviewed original studies, critical editions of classical and pre-modern texts, and book reviews on Shii law, ḥadīth, Qurʾānic exegesis, philosophy, kalām, ritual and practices, classical and contemporary literature, and other aspects of the history of Shiism. It is dedicated to the study of Imami, Ismaili, Zaydi, and other other trends in Shii thought throughout history. Taking an expansive view of the richly variegated Shii traditions in both thought and practice and their cultural and social contexts, the Shii Studies Review makes a distinctive contribution to current scholarship on Shiism and its integration into the broader field of Islamic studies.
- Erken Dönem Eş‘arî Kelâmı: Ebû Bekr el-Bâkillânî (ö. 403/1013) ve Hidâyetü’l-müsterşidîn’i(2022)Sabine Schmidtke, bu çalışmada Ebû Bekr el-Bâkillânî’nin en kapsamlı kelâm eseri Hidâyetü’l-müsterşidîn’in iki yazmasını tanıtmaktadır. Daha önce Daniel Gimaret tarafından Fes ve Kahire’deki yazmaları tanıtılan eserin bu makalede ele alınan yazmaları ise St. Petersburg ve Taşkent’te bulunmaktadır. Schmidtke, söz konusu yazmalardan hareketle Hidâye’nin biçim ve muhtevasına yönelik çıkarımlarda bulunmaktadır. Makalede ayrıca St. Petersburg ve Taşkent yazmalarında geçen Bâkillânî’nin kelâm ve fıkıh usulü alanlarında kaleme aldığı eserlerin isimlerine ve daha erken dönem kelâm literatüründen yaptığı alıntılara işaret edilmektedir. Yazar, makalenin sonuna Fes ve Kahire yazmalarının kısa, St. Petersburg ve Taşkent yazmalarının ise detaylı içindekiler listelerine yer vermektedir.
- Toward a Reconstruction of ʿAbd Allāh b. Zayd al-ʿAnsī’s Oeuvre and Thought(Gorgias Press (Gorgias Handbooks; 49), 2022)The extant works of Ḥusām al-Dīn Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd Allāh b. Zayd b. Aḥmad b. Abī l- Khayr al-ʿAnsī al-Madhḥijī (593–Shaʿbān 667/1196 or 1197–April 1269), a towering figure in seventh/thirteenth-century Yemen, illustrate the importance of the collections of manuscripts of Yemeni provenance in European libraries and the significance of the digital repatriation of this heritage, as well as the at times precarious situation of private manuscript collections in Yemen during the second half of the twentieth century. Besides al- ʿAnsī’s popular work on asceticism and morality, the K. al-Irshād ilā najāt al-ʿibād, which is preserved in countless manuscripts in the public and private libraries of Yemen as well as elsewhere (→ inventory, item 4), only a fraction of his oeuvre has come down to us. According to the later biographical tradition, this oeuvre originally comprised 105 titles.2 The Berlin State Library holds three multitext volumes containing several writings attributed to al-ʿAnsī, and for the majority of these works, the Berlin copy constitutes the only witness. All three codices are part of the collection of manuscripts that Eduard Glaser (1862–1919) sold to the State Library in February 1887: MS Glaser 79 (on which see below), MS Glaser 111 (→ inventory, items 1, 3), and MS Glaser 123 (→ inventory, items 6, 8, 10, 17). The Bavarian State Library in Munich holds two precious partial copies of al-ʿAnsī’s magnum opus in theology, al-Maḥajja al-bayḍāʾ (→ inventory, item 9), which were brought to Europe by Giuseppe Caprotti (1862–1926) and purchased by the library in 1902. These are, again, the only extant witnesses of those parts of the book. Another comprehensive work by al-ʿAnsī is his K. al-Tamyīz (→ inventory, item 20), his most detailed refutation of the Muṭarrifiyya,3 which he wrote toward the end of his life. A unique manuscript of the book was kept in the personal library of Muḥammad al-Sārī in Sanaa and at some point came to the attention of ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad al-Ḥibshī.4 At the latter’s initiative, the codex was included among the manuscripts that were microfilmed by one of the Egyptian missions to Yemen, which took place in 1951–1952, 1964, and 1974. Since that time, the physical original has been destroyed, and all that remains is the microfilm surrogate of the book. Over the past two decades, the writings attributed to al-ʿAnsī that are preserved in European collections have increasingly come to the attention of scholars worldwide. Several refutations of the Muṭarrifiyya that are preserved in two of the Berlin codices (MSS Glaser 79, 111) have been published by ʿAbd al-Ghanī Maḥmūd ʿAbd al-ʿĀṭī in his 2002 study on the Muṭarrifiyya (→ inventory, item 3, and the discussion on MS Glaser 79 below). Al-ʿAnsī’s al-Jawāb ʿalā l-faqīh Yūsuf b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Shāfiʿī (→ inventory, item 6) and al-Sirāj al-wahhāj (→ inventory, item 17) w ere p ublished i n 2 016 a nd 2 017 ( 2nd. e d. 2 022) b y J amāl a l-Shāmī as private publications. The two Munich codices containing significant portions of al-ʿAnsī’s al- Maḥajja al-bayḍāʾ have been consulted for a number of publications, and the more complete of the two, Cod. arab. 1286, was published as facsimile with introduction and indices. 5 An edition of al-ʿAnsī’s collected epistles, currently under preparation by al-Qāsim b. al-Ḥasan al-Sarrājī, has been announced,6 and it is likely that Muḥammad b. Sharaf al-Dīn b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Ḥusaynī’s recently published Maṣādir ʿilm al-kalām al-zaydī contains further information on al-ʿAnsī’s dogmatic writings.7 A thorough analysis of al-ʿAnsī’s doctrinal thought remains, however, a desideratum, and the identity and authenticity of some of the writings that are attributed to him still need to be established. ...
- The Fate of Yemeni Manuscripts, Late Nineteenth to Early Twenty-First Centuries(Gorgias Press, 2022)
- The Beginnings of Yemeni and Zaydi Studies in Europe: The Eugenio Griffini Archive, Milan(Shii Studies Review (Leiden: Brill), 2022)The arrival of large numbers of Yemeni manuscripts in European libraries towards the end of the nineteenth century and in the early twentieth century was a sensation that was enthusiastically received by the scholarly world. One of the principal reasons for this enthusiastic reception was the upsurge of South Arabian studies in Europe since the first half of the nineteenth century, together with the hope that the new material would fill some of the gaps in the literary sources on the history and geography of southern Arabia, especially during the pre-Islamic period. The most significant such lacuna was the missing volumes 1 through 7 and 9 of al-Hamdānī’s Iklīl. The two most important collections of Yemeni manuscripts that arrived in Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had been gathered by Eduard Glaser and Giuseppe Caprotti, respectively, and their collections were sold to Berlin, London, and Vienna (Glaser) and to Munich, Milan, and the Vatican (Caprotti). The collections included some new material on South Arabian history (including volumes 1, 2, and 6 of the Iklīl), but they also opened up entirely new vistas and laid the foundation for the new discipline of Zaydi studies. Unlike South Arabian studies, the study of Zaydism had a slow start, with initially only a few scholars being interested in this entirely new field. Moreover, the scholarly exploration of the respective subcollections depended on the availability of catalogues. The early history of the Caprotti collection is intimately linked to Eugenio Griffini. Caprotti had dispatched nearly his entire manuscript collection of some 1,600 codices to Griffini, who kept it in his apartment in Milan until 1909, when the collection was donated to the Ambrosiana Library. Griffini was also the first and, for a long time, the only scholar to study the collection and prepare studies as well as catalogues of it. The process of his engagement with the material can be reconstructed on the basis of the Griffini archive, the whereabouts of which were for decades uncertain. This study outlines the discovery of the Griffini archive in the Biblioteca Comunale Centrale Palazzo Sormani in Milan and provides an initial overview of its contents, including Griffini’s epistolary exchanges with some ninety-nine correspondents, his descriptions of some of the Ethiopic manuscripts of the Ambrosiana, and, most importantly, his schedario, containing his extensive notes on all manuscripts of series A of the Caprotti collection. The large corpus of so far unexplored material promises to provide new insights into the network of Islamicists and Arabists at the turn of the twentieth century and the nascent phase of Zaydi studies in Europe.
- The Fifth/Eleventh-Century Zaydi Jurist and Theologian al-Muwaffaq bi-llāh al-Jurjānī on the Consensus of the Family of the Prophet: An Editio Princeps of His Masʾala fī anna ijmāʿ ahl al-bayt ḥujja (MS Milan, Ambrosiana, ar. F 29/5, Fols 295v–309v)(Shii Studies Review (Leiden: Brill), 2022)The article presents an editio princeps of Masʾala fī anna ijmāʿ ahl al-bayt ḥujja by the fifth/eleventh-century Zaydī al-Muwaffaq bi-llāh al-Jurjānī, author of the K. al-Iḥāṭa fī ʿilm al-kalām and the K. al-Iʿtibār wa-salwat al-ʿārifīn, one of the earliest extant substantial discussions on the consensis of the family of the Prophet among the Zaydis.
- A Responsum by the Fifth/Eleventh-Century Imāmī Theologian Abū Yaʿlā Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan b. Ḥamza al-Jaʿfarī on the Number of the Imams(Shii Studies Review (Leiden: Brill), 2022)MS Tehran, Dānishgāh-i Tihrān 5396, a multitext codex dating to the eleventh/seventeenth century, includes a tract entitled Risālat al-ḥujja fī l-imāma by the little-known fifth/eleventh-century Imāmī theologian Abū Yaʿlā Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan b. Ḥamza al-Jaʿfarī. The text is transmitted in two additional witnesses, and in both it is attributed to al-Sharīf al-Murtaḍā (d. 436/1044). The tract was recently published as a work by al-Murtaḍā on the basis of one of these witnesses, which was believed to be a unique copy. The present study discusses the scarce available data about Abū Yaʿlā al-Jaʿfarī and shows that he, rather than al-Murtaḍā, is the author of the tract, which circulated under titles such as Risālat al-ḥujja fī l-imāma and Masʾala fī bayān imāmat al-a ʾimma al-ithnay ʿashar ʿalayhim ṣalawāt Allāh wa-l-malāʾika wal- bashar. Finally, we present a critical edition of the tract, one of the earliest extant Imāmī writings on the question of the number of the imams, on the basis of all three witnesses.
- German Orientalism in Times of Turmoil: The Kahle-Strothmann Correspondence (1933 through 1938, 1945 through 1950)(2022)This study offers an annotated edition of the correspondence between Paul Ernst Kahle (1875–1964) and Rudolf Strothmann (1877–1960), two of the leading representatives of Oriental studies in Germany during the first half of the twentieth century. Kahle’s and Strothmann’s early epistolary exchange (1933–1938) falls into the period of Nazi rule in Germany, shedding some light on the ways in which each of them negotiated the political intricacies, temptations and dangers of the period. The situation completely changed for the two scholars during the second period of their correspondence, 1945 through 1950. Although Kahle thrived in his scholarly work during his time in England where he emigrated in 1938, he had lost his position of power within German academia. His letters show that he did not realize that his voice was no longer wanted or needed and that he was out of touch with the reality of post-war Germany. Strothmann in turn had gone through difficult years. Moreover, during 1946 and 1947 he fell seriously ill and was repeatedly hospitalized for several months, in addition to other common hardships during the immediate post-war period. Strothmann’s letters illustrate those dire circumstances while at the same time reflecting his determination to pursue his scholarship at all costs, and with success.
- Rudolf Strothmann’s Trip to the Middle East (1929/30): I. Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Anatolia, the Levant, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, and Yemen(2022)On 18 September 1929,Rudolf Strothmann (1877–1960) embarked on a trip to the Middle East, in the course of which he travelled to Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Anatolia, the Levant, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, and Yemen. He returned to Hamburg on 10 May 1930, nearly eight months after his departure. The trip is documented in three detailed letters (or Ansichtskarten, as he calls them) that Strothmann sent to Carl Heinrich Becker (1876–1933) on 19 December 1929, 10 March 1930, and 8 May 1930. This paper offers an edition of Strothmann’s first and second Ansichtskarten to Carl Heinrich Becker, with annotations.