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  • Cited by 2
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
September 2018
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Book description

The Ibadi Muslims, a little-known minority community, have lived in North Africa for over a thousand years. Combining an analysis of Arabic manuscripts with digital tools used in network analysis, Paul M. Love, Jr takes readers on a journey across the Maghrib and beyond as he traces the paths of a group of manuscripts and the Ibadi scholars who used them. Ibadi scholars of the Middle Period (eleventh–sixteenth century) wrote a series of collective biographies (prosopographies), which together constructed a cumulative tradition that connected Ibadi Muslims from across time and space, bringing them together into a 'written network'. From the Mzab valley in Algeria to the island of Jerba in Tunisia, from the Jebel Nafusa in Libya to the bustling metropolis of early-modern Cairo, this book shows how people and books worked in tandem to construct and maintain an Ibadi Muslim tradition in the Maghrib.


'Using network analysis coupled to a scholarly examination of extant manuscripts, Love’s study opens new perspectives on the developing traditions of prosopography among the dispersed Ibadi communities of the Maghrib. It would make a stimulating model for examining the reasons behind a generally dissimilar development in Oman.'

John C. Wilkinson - Professor Emeritus, University of Oxford

'Love’s work achieves something rare: it sheds new light on long familiar North African Ibāḍī prosopographical works by focusing on the written networks of scholars implied in their pages, as well as on the lives of the manuscripts. He significantly enriches our knowledge of how Ibāḍīs used books to create tradition and community.'

Adam Gaiser - The Florida State University

'Love’s study of the biographical tradition of the Ibadi communities of North Africa from the eleventh to the fifteenth century, copied and recopied in manuscript and latterly in printed form down to the present day, is a highly original and perceptive analysis of the way in which the tradition has developed and circulated among those communities over the past thousand years, serving to maintain their social cohesion and religious identity in the face of the tide of history. As a contribution not only to the study of the Ibadis, but to the history of Islam itself, it cannot be too highly recommended.'

Michael Brett - Emeritus Reader in the History of North Africa, SOAS

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