Mission statement

The Centre brings together a variety of projects of junior and senior researchers relating to Jewish-Arabic cultures, and promotes exchange and collaboration between researchers in Munich and abroad.

In pre-modern times, an estimated ninety percent of the Jewish population lived under Muslim rule, and most of these Jews spoke and wrote in Arabic. Jews had gradually adopted Arabic for most forms of spoken and written communication and produced a vast branch of Jewish literature in Arabic, usually written in Hebrew letters. The study of this important part of Jewish life has thus far been on the margins of scholarship, and is now the focus of our projects.

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Our projects

Discover the wide range of projects hosted by the Munich Research Centre or explore select projects in-depth:

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Exploring Confessional Boundaries: A Comparative Textual Study of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Arabic Folktales from the Pre-Modern Era

This project is a comparative study of pre-modern written Muslim, Jewish, and Christian Middle Arabic. It challenges the long-held assumption that social and cultural segregation of Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Ottoman-era Egypt caused significant divergences in their written languages.
About the project

Caliphs on the Throne of Constantine: Syriac Orthodox Reassessment of Kingship in the Umayyad and Abbasid Period

By studying how kingship was conceptualised by a large group of Christian subjects of Islamic rule (the Syriac Orthodox, in the mid 7th through 10th centuries), this project probes how Christians adapted their tradition on kingship to accommodate Islamic kings.
About the project

Manuscript Hunters: A Research Seminar Website

This project emerged out of a MA-Seminar and is dedicated to manuscript hunting and, in particular, to the agents behind this enterprise: the great Manuscript Hunters. We try to understand what purpose the Manuscript Hunters’ travels served, which networks and modes of patronage they could rely on.
About the project

Beyond Conflict and Coexistence: Towards an Entangled History of Jewish-Arab Relations

The project will take the perspective of entangled history, which is particularly suitable to the study of Jewish-Arab history: religious and everyday practices of Jews and Muslims, and many of their respective traditions, converged in the close cohabitation of space— a shared religious, intellectual, social, linguistic and economic world.
About the project

Saadya Gaon's Works on the Jewish Calendar: Near Eastern Sources and Transmission to the West

This project, jointly run by Sacha Stern (University College London), Nadia Vidro (University College London), and Ronny Vollandt (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich), will reconstruct, edit, and study, for the first time, the full corpus of Saadya Gaon's writings on the Jewish calendar.
About the project

Independence and Diversity: Unknown Qaraite Bible Commentaries in Judeo-Arabic from the Early Classical Age

This project, a joint effort of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Ludwig- Maximilians-Universität, Munich, focuses on the origins and history of Qaraite exegesis in the 10th century CE.
About the project

Biblia Arabica

The research consortium Biblia Arabica has as its focus versions of the Bible that are in Arabic, which were produced over many centuries on the basis of a wide range of source languages and in varying contexts.
About the project

MAJLIS: The Transformation of Jewish Literature in Arabic in the Islamicate World

Around the turn of the first millennium CE, up to ninety percent of the Jewish population lived in territories under Muslim sovereignty.
About the project

Judeo-Arabic Bible Exegesis and Translations in the Firkovitch Manuscript Collections

This project will recover a significant portion of the rich Arabic and Judeo-Arabic manuscript heritage known as the Firkovitch Collection, held in the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg and available in microfilm and digital form at the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.
About the project

Jewish Book Culture in the Islamicate World

Jewish Book Culture in the Islamicate World Principal Investigator: Judith Olszowy-Schlanger (University of Oxford) and Ronny Vollandt (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich) Funded by: German Research Foundation and Arts and Humanities Research Council Timeframe: 2020–2023
About the project

Communities of Knowledge: Interreligious Networks of Scholars in Ibn Abi Usaybiʿa's "History of the Physicians"

In the Communities of Knowledge project (https://usaybia.net), we examine the social encounters of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars in the Abbasid Near East (750–1258).
About the project

Studies on Simʿān ibn Kalīl's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew: Critical Edition, Translation and Research on the Religious-Historical Significance of the Work

The aim of this project is to critically analyse the exegetical work of the Coptic author Simʿān ibn Kalīl (d. ca. 1236/37) on the Gospel of Matthew.
About the project
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    Saadya Gaon in the Qaraite literature of the 10th–11th centuries

    Nadia Vidro A Qaraite refutation of Kitāb al-Tamyīz by Saadya Gaon and its attribution to Ḥasan Ben Mashiaḥ   Friederike Schmidt and Ronny Vollandt References to Saadya Gaon in the work of Sahl ben Maṣliaḥ   Gregor Schwarb Poznański’s Karaite … Continued
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    Genres and Disciplines of Learning in Judaeo-Arabic Literature

    We understand genres and disciplines of learning as dynamic structures that are never fixed and static, but continuously interact with the reading public, the social environment, the literary canon, and with other texts. The Society of Judaeo-Arabic Studies, therefore, invites to a conference on the nature, development and formation of genres and disciplines of knowledge in Judaeo-Arabic literature.
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    Public Lecture

    Writing Christian History in the Abbasid Empire: The Chronicle of Dionysius of Tell-Mahre (d. 845) in its Byzantine and Arab Context

    A lecture from Marianna Mazzola (LMU München) in the 4MZ-Reihe "Kulturen des Islam: Aktuelle Forschung"

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