Event details

„Text, Context and Paratext: Maṭāliʿ al-Anẓār Sharḥ Ṭawāliʿ al-Anwār as a Case Study”

Click to maximize

Public Research Seminar


Abdelkader Al Ghouz (Bonn University)


Thursday, 13 December 2018, 6-7:30pm





The Sunni-Ashʿarīte theologian and chief judge (qāḍī al-quḍāt) ʿAbd Allāh al-Bayḍāwī (d. 1316) composed his theological treatise entitled Ṭawāliʿ al-Anwār min Maṭāliʿ al-Anẓār in Tabriz. A remarkable number of commentaries were written on al-Bayḍāwī’s Ṭawāliʿ in Mamluk Cairo from the fourteenth to the beginning of the sixteenth century. For instance, the Ashʿarīte theologian Shams al-Dīn al-Iṣfahānī, who died in 1348 in Cairo, composed ­– on behalf of the Mamluk ruler al-Nāṣir Muḥammad Ibn Qalāwūn (d. 741/1341) – a commentary on the Ṭawāliʿ entitled Maṭāliʿ al-Anẓār Sharḥ Ṭawāliʿ al-Anwār. In the Mamluk period, the Maṭāliʿ al-Anẓār enjoyed wide popularity among theologians and philosophers who wrote many glosses and super-glosses on it.


This talk is formed of three main parts: The first part expounds the content and the characteristics of the structure of the main text of the Ṭawāliʿ al-Anwār. Based on network analysis, the second part focuses on the social context of the commentary Maṭāliʿ al-Anẓār by examining al-Iṣfahānī’s interpersonal relationships with the Damascene and Cairene political and intellectual elites, which led to the composition of the Maṭāliʿ al-Anẓār and its diffusion in the Mamluk period. Using the literary concept of paratext, the third part of this paper sheds light on evidences, which are included in the colophon, introduction and reading marks on the margin of Maṭāliʿ al-Anẓār in order to reconstruct the social life and energy of one individual manuscript of the commentary under study.





Abdelkader Al Ghouz studied Islamic studies, translation and political science at the University of Bonn where he completed his Ph.D. in Near and Middle Eastern Studies. He has held different research positions; e. g. Visitant Assistant in Research at Yale University/Department of Religious Studies, Lecturer and Research Associate at Bonn University. Since 2016, he has been the academic coordinator for the Annemarie Schimmel-Kolleg, Centre for Advanced Studies, at Bonn University. His research focuses on Mamluk history, commentary literature, Islamic philosophy, theology, and contemporary Arabic thought.