on education in medieval Arabic text
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the works to be examined are unpublished medieval Arabic manuscripts.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.