Ibn Khaldun. An Essay in Reinterpretation.

Al-Azmeh, Aziz.

Book ID: 14449

ISBN:      0714631302


8vo. xv, 176 pp., cloth in d/w, previous owner’s name inscribed verso front & lower cover, biblio, index, Frank Cass, London, first edition, 1982.


Since its publication 1981, this book has established itself as the major new interpretation of the historical thought of this great figure of Arab-Islamic letters and of historical thought overall, a figure generally thought to be on a par with Vico, Herder, Thucydides and others of similar stature. The author has eschewed the ahistorical interpretations to which Ibn Khaldun has normally been subjected, both by authors who have sought unduly to modernise his thought, and by those who sought to freeze it in stereotypical models of Islamic thought. Starting with an interpretation of Ibn Khaldun’s narration of history in the context of classical Arabic historical writing, the author’s interpretation then moves on to a meticulous reconstruction of Ibn Khaldun’s conception of. The author probes the employment by Ibn Khaldun of the Aristotelian conception of nature in his understanding of society, of the logical and para-logical hermeneutics he deploys in the assessment of historical reports, and of the narrative structures of Arabic historical writing with its central concept of the state. The book then goes on to sketch the content and structure of Ibn Khaldun’s most celebrated work, the Muqaddima. The concluding chapter assesses Ibn Khaldun from the perspective of his age as expressed in the reception of his work. The book ends with “bibliographic orientations” for the help of the reader.

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