Ryan J. Lynch deposited Self-Revision and the Arabic Historical Tradition: Identifying Textual Reuse and Reorganization in the Works of al-Baladhuri on Humanities Commons 2 years, 2 months ago
While there is growing historiographical analysis of the reuse of circulating narrative materials in medieval books from various textual traditions, there have been fewer studies of the late antique and early medieval periods that have considered the process of authorial self-revision. This is especially the case with early Arabic/Islamicate texts.
This study is a discussion of the historical material that is reused in the two surviving Arabic works of the Muslim author al-Balādhurī (d. ca. 892 CE/279 AH), material which appears in his Kitāb Futūḥ al-buldān (The Book of the Conquest of Lands) and that was apparently reused in his Ansāb al-Ashrāf (The Lineage of Nobles). In discussing how al-Balādhurī recycled this information and emplotted it in verbatim and near-verbatim forms, it shows how shifting the location of these shared traditions demonstrates the different goals of his two books and also showcases his work as an author: in the former, he places an emphasis on the creation of early Islamic institutions; in the later, he eulogizes the character and qualities of Islam’s earliest leaders. Additionally, all of the reused material discussed here was identified through computer meditated analysis, so this study also highlights how the tools of the digital and computational humanities demonstrate immense promise in enhancing and expediting the research of scholars across the medieval globe.