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Views on education in medieval Arabic text

This research project chronologically analyses and comprehensively describes the views on education as evident in medieval Arabic-Islamic texts. It fills a lacuna in both Arabic and Islamic studies, and the History of Education: while key issues of educational concepts in some ancient cultures have been clarified, for Islam in the Middle Ages, a ‘history of pedagogy’ is still lacking.
The project is based on more than seventy Arabic works from the 8th to the 16th century CE, which share an explicit dedication to education. It examines textual evidence representative of a period of time which has been of fundamental significance to Islam as a religion, culture, and civilization. It provides insights into the intellectual culture of Islam and advances knowledge of some of the most fascinating aspects of medieval Muslim scholarship. Hence, the project attempts to make a major contribution to a better understanding and appreciation of the contributions Muslims have made to world culture and civilization. More than half of the works to be examined are unpublished medieval Arabic manuscripts. This fact in particular contributes to the genuineness of the project and the originality of its anticipated findings.

In an erudite and often fine-literary manner, classical Arabic texts on education deal with topics such as the ideal characteristics of teacher and student and their relationship with one another in the process of education; private, primary and higher education; didactics (organization and content of learning, curriculum); ethics and etiquette of education; as well as the perception and role of knowledge (and its interaction with belief). Based on issues raised in the Qur’an and the Literature of Prophetic Tradition, these medieval documents describe, elaborate, and extensively discuss the Islamic ideas and concepts of education. They are an important source for the history of ideas in Islam, revealing major steps taken by Muslim scholars towards an "Islamic pedagogy."
Besides better-known works on education by Muslim scholars such as: Ibn Sahnun (d. 870), al-Qabisi (d. 1012), al-Ghazali (d. 1111), Ibn al-Jama'a (d. 1369), and al-Zarnuji (13th c.), for example, there is a considerable number of texts that have hitherto not gained sufficient attention by modern research. Many of these medieval documents, whether accessible in published editions or manuscripts, seem to be unknown in the West.

A major objective of this project is publication of a monograph. This book will:
a) determine, chronologically examine and describe the corpus of medieval Arabic texts on education;

b) analyze major characteristics of educational ideas and concepts in medieval Islam;

c) elaborate on the methods and ways these ideas and concepts were portrayed and communicated in works by authors who often were teachers themselves.