Journal based in 2004
Issued twice a year
Table of Contents as a *.PDF file
Dr A. Kolesnikov, Dr N. Luzhetskaya. Eminent Orientalist Academician B.A. Dorn - 5
SummaryA biographical survey of B.A. Dorn (1805-1881), member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, professor, director of the Asiatic Museum of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a broad specialist in the field of Iranian studies and founder of the Afghan studies in Russia, who contributed significantly to the formation and study of St. Petersburg collections of Oriental manuscripts, coins, books and to the development of Oriental studies in Russia.
Dr O. Vasilyeva, L. Shilov. B.A. Dorn as a Librarian of the Imperial Public Library - 16
The Academician Dorn worked at the Imperial Public library (today the National library of Russia) since 1844 till 1869. Although he was the head of Historical and Theological Departments, the most important trace of his activities can be found in the Manuscript Department.
Dorn was the editor of the well-known Catalogue des manuscrits et xylographes orientaux de la Bibliothèque Impériale Publique de St. Pétersbourg published in 1852. Later he described the manuscript collections of D. Dolgoruky, N. Khanykov, I. Simonich and other Oriental manuscripts. - 43
“Beliefs of the Arabs in the Epoch of al-jahiliyya” by al-Shahrastani. Annotated translation from Arabic by Dr S. Prozorov - 26
This annotated translation of the chapter Ārā'u-l-'arab fi-l-jāhiliyya from the second part of the work Kitāb al-milal wa-1-nihal by the famous Muslim scholar al-Shahrastani (d. 548/1153) is an account on beliefs and customs of the Arabs during the period of transition from the paganism (arab. al-jāhiliyya) to Islam. The contents of this chapter is important for the understanding of the nature of Islam as well as of its Arabian roots. Elements of various beliefs and religious practices rooted among the pre-Islamic Arabian tribes turned out to be the spiritual substance, which had a direct impact on the formation of Islam as a religion. Re-interpreted and adopted to the new social conditions encountered by the former inhabitants of Arabia, they had been incorporated into the Islamic ideology and practice.
Fakhr ad-Dīn 'Irāqī. “'Ushshāq-nāma” (“The Book of Lovers”). Introduction, translation from Persian with commentaries by V. Drozdov. Part 1 - 47
Sheikh Fakhr ad-Dīn 'Irāqī (610-688/1213-1289) is one of the greatest Persian Sūfī poets of the 13th century. He is the author of the Dīvān of verses of nearly 5000 couplets, of philosophical prose treatise Lama'āt (Flashes), which was composed under the influence of the Arabic writing Fusūs al-hikam (The Gems of wisdom) by Ibn 'Arabī (560-638/1165-1240) and of masnavī poem 'Ushshāq-nāma (The Book of Lovers) of 1064 couplets, which became the first work in verse on the subject of Divine love in Persian literature. The poem 'Ushshāq-nāma became the general conclusion and expression of the genre of 'Ishq-nāma (The Book of Love) of Persian Literature in poetry, because before it this genre had been represented only by Persian prosaic treatises.
The first part of the work considers the Biography of 'Irāqī and contains the full translation of anonymous hagiography of the sheikh and poet composed probably by some of his contemporaries or disciples soon after his death. After that, all the creative heritage of the poet including his treatise Lama'āt, Dīvān of verses and the masnavī poem 'Ushshāq-nāma is analysed in detail. The second part of this work presents a full prosaic translation of the poem 'Ushshāq-nāma into Russian with an interpretation of the religious ideas and the technical vocabulary of the Sūfīs.
“Paraphrase of Sem” (Nag-Hammadi VII. 1). Introduction, translation from Coptic and commentaries by I. Egorenkov - 84
The paper offers a Russian translation of the gnostic treatise Paraphrase of Sem—the first of five tractates contained in Codex VII of the Coptic gnostic library from Nag-Hammadi. This tractate represents a revelation given by Derdekeas (the Son of the Perfect Light) to Sem, who is said to be a progenitor of the righteous race of true gnostics. The revelation of Derdekeas includes detailed discussion of cosmogony, soteriology, eschatology, anthropology, ethics and harsh polemics against the church practice of baptism. The Paraphrase of Sem is important for the study of early Christianity and its gnostic origins.
Dr M. Pelevin. The Spread of Islam and the Development of Literature among the Afghans in the 16th—17th Centuries - 113
The article describes general tendencies in the process of Islamization of the Afghans in the late Middle Ages defining two principal conflict zones where normative Sunni theology opposed extreme mystical teachings, on the one hand, and shari'a regulations competed against tribal customs and laws, on the other. It is argued that the spread of Islam brought about intensive development of Pashto literature which in its turn considerably strengthened positions of Islamic creed in Pashtun society.
Z. Jandosova. The Custom of Intercession in Pre-modern Afghanistan - 125
The article deals with the custom of intercession as an important part of the Pushtun customary law (the Pushtunwali) coinciding with Afghan political tradition of Sadozai and Sadozai/Barakzai periods (late 18th — first four decades of 19th centuries). This custom had been widely and successfully applied in the cases of conflict-settling in the private life as well as in war and politics.
Within the political tradition, the application for the intercession of a third person had the basic meaning not only of a humble apology but also of the acknowledgement of one's defeat and, consequently, of the recognition of the other's sovereign power. The correct choice of interceders, the observation of the ritual rules and humble expression of resignation could guarantee mercy.
Such narrative sources on the pre-modern history of Afghanistan as Siraj at-Tawarikh, Tarikh-i Saltani, Waqeat-i Shah Shujah and Tarikh-i Waqae wa Sawaneh-i Afghanistan abound with examples of the resort to this custom in the political struggle and the internecine wars. A lot of such examples, mostly from Siraj at-Tawarikh, are cited and commented in the article.
The article consists of five sections dealing with: 1) intercession as the customary law standard; 2) categories of interceders (clergy, chiefs, women); 3) the power of this custom; 4) the custom's ritual; 5) specific cases. The author concludes that Afghan political tradition was inseparable from the common law of Pushtuns. In Afghanistan of two centuries ago, the Pushtun model of intercession going back to apologies targeting the cessation of the blood feud and tightly related to the custom of hospitality had been a normal means of the settlement of the military and political conflicts.
Dr N. Luzhetskaya. Data on the History of the Pamir's Delimitation in the Orientalist Archives of the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute for Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences. A.E. Snesarev's Collection: “Report of Captain Vannovsky, GS, on the Reconnaissance Trip to Rushan” (1893) - 134
The publication is bringing forward a document from A.E. Snesarev's collection, forming Part I of file 115 Captain Vannovsky's Report (f. 3-35). This formerly unpublished document represents a detailed account of the dramatic trip of Captain Vannovsky's small detachment to the debatable valley of Bartang (West Pamirs) in September, 1893, and his clash with Afghan frontier guards, on the eve of the final delimitation of the area. The significance of Vannovsky's expedition lies in the collected information of geopolitical character as well as in its scholarly results.
Dr A. Kolesnikov. Administration in Khurasan of the 9th-12th Centuries A.D. (As Recorded by the Early Muslim Geographers) - 153
The paper deals with that part of untraditional information, dispersed in the geographical treatises, which concerns the administration of the eastern extremities of the Caliphate before the Mongol invasion. It is obvious from the text that Muslim geographers give particular attention to the role of the native ruling dynasties in local affairs and to their relations with a vicegerent of Khurasan, appointed by the caliph or by his general deputy in Basra. The translation of the chapter about seventy vicegerents of Khurasan (wulāt xurāsāri) by al-Ya'kūbī (10th century) is attached to the paper.
E. Vasil'eva. The Kurdish Tribe in Sources and Literature - 172
The historical role of the Kurdish tribe has not been appropriately appreciated. It has been practically always regarded negatively as the idea of the tribal solidarity was a permanent obstacle to the ethnoconsolidating processes and the liberation movement. The key to the phenomenon of the Kurdish tribe is its dual nature. It combines two trends: the centripetal and the centrifugal ones. The leading role belongs to the former and its integrative-protective function. Kurds would barely have a chance to survive as an ethnic community but for the possibility of migrating to the mountains in dire moments of their history, when their tribe and the nomadic life were their strongholds.
Dr O. Chunakova. The Pahlavi Lapidary - 196
This paper is concerned with the Pahlavi Lapidary, an interesting text difficult for translation and interpretation. The difficulty arises because different potencies are attributed to the stones of the same colour and the same potencies to the stones of different colours. Correct translation of Pahl. sāyišn as a concrete noun ‘a powder’ appears to explain the lapidary and to show that the question is not only about the stones of different colours, but about these stones' powders of different colours. Pahl. muhrag used not in its meaning ‘a seal’, but in the meaning ‘a stone’ appears to suggest that this text may be translated from a language in which there is one noun for these two meanings. There is such noun in Syriac. Many works including scientific ones were translated from Syriac into Pahlavi. It is to a Syriac original that Arabic mineralogies go back, and in one of them, preserved in al-Kazwini's Cosmography, there is a text about the potencies of the stones of different colours giving the powders of different colours after rubbing. The Pahlavi Lapidary is typologically the same one and it seems to have been derived from the sphere of Syriac scientific works.
The paper is supplied with a transliteration, transcription and translation of the Lapidary.
Dr A. Grushevoi. Flavius Josephus, Philo and the Author of the Acta Apostolorum about the Inter-ethnical Conflicts in the First Century Palestine - 205
The present article deals with main inter-ethnical conflicts in the first century Palestine, occurring in Caesarea and in Yamnia. The first ones are descripted by Flavius Josephus and the author of the Acta Apostolorum, the second one by Philo.
The inter-ethnical conflicts in Caesarea are the events of 44, 59-60 and 66 A.D., accompanied by serious clashes between the Jewish community of the city and the hellenized population of Caesarea.
In 44, a part of Caesarea population (the Jews) mourned the sudden death of the king Agrippas the First who arrived to Caesarea for festivities and suddenly died. At the same time, a part of the population (Greeks and the hellenized population) organized uproarious demonstrations in the city, expressing joy in connection with the death of the king. Such different reactions of the city's population are to be explained by a fatal coincidence. Five days before his death, being already in Caesarea, Agrippas was deified and this event was celebrated by the citizens, but almost in the same time he felt the first signs of a fatal illness. The contemporaries regarded the king's sudden death as a clear sign of the intervention of gods (Fl. Jos. Ant. Jud., XIX, 343-349).
The second conflict occured at Caesarea in 59-60 A.D. and was indirectly linked with the investigation concerning the acts and points of view of the apostle Paul, which took place in Caesarea as an administrative center of the Roman power in Palestine (Acta, XXIII-XXVI). The refusal of the Roman administration to extradite the apostle to the Jews could not but strain the inner situation in the city with its latent inter-ethnical contradictions.
The conflict may be formally explained by the demand of the Jewish community to live in the city according to their own laws, without any intervention from the hellenized population and the city administration. But, as a matter of fact, this conflict was a struggle for the control of the city life in the broadest sense of the word. The Jewish community prevailed in Caesarea during the first decades of the city's history. The number of the Greek and hellenized population has become considerable only in the middle of the first century A.D. Such ethnical balance could not help provoking conflicts in the city because it was certainly impossible for the Roman power to accept any other political influence in the administrative center except for their own. The last circumstance helps to understand better the refusal of the Emperor to comply with the request of the Jewish embassy coming to Rome in search of justice in the capital of the Empire (Fl. Jos., Ant. Jud., XX, 173-177, 182-184 = Bel. Jud., II, 266-270).
Flavius Josephus begins his description of the third conflict in Caesarea in 66 with the statement that the Greeks have been allowed by the Emperor to gain the upper hand as regards the problem of governing the city. Flavius Josephus writes (Bel. Jud., II, 284) that when the Greeks have brought the Emperor's decision to the city then it was the beginning of the war. The fact of Emperor's decision about the mode of governing any city automatically conferred the status of a colony to such city, in the circumstances of the Roman Empire. Our sources contain the information that Cesarea received the status of a colony in the times of Vespasian, but there is no contradiction here. The Jewish war began very soon after Nero's decision and after the war it became necessary to restore all legal relationships between the State and its subject territories all over again.
The conflict developed in connection with the problem of the statuts of the ground where the city synagogue was situated. This ground belonged to a Greek who refused to sell it to the Jewish community. The end of the conflict was as follows — the Jews have brought the scroll of the Law from Caesarea synagogue to one of the nearby towns. As to the delegation of the Jews to the procurator with the complaint about oppression, it was arrested by the order of the procurator. This action might be explained by the Jews' reproaching the procurator for one of the previous situations when they have given him a sum of money in order to get help from him and he did not intervene in the conflict and, finally, did nothing for them (Fl. Jos., Bel. Jud., II, 284-292).
The opposition between the two ethnic communities in the city ended tragically. Flavius Josephus writes (Bel. Jud., II, 457) that the hellenized population of Caesarea killed almost all Jews in Caesarea during the first weeks of the Jewish war (about 20 000), and a certain number of those who survived was sent to shipyards actually in the capacity of slaves. But this was not the end of the Jewish community in Caesarea. Talmudic sources speak about rabbi Abbahu, a leader of the Jewish community in Caesarea in the beginning of the fourth century. The community was flourishing at the time.
Another conflict showing a complete absence of will or even the impossibility of two cultures to understand each other was the Yamnia conflict in 40 A.D., described by Philo (Legatio ad Caium, 30). The Greeks living in the city have erected an altar dedicated to the Emperor (Caligula). The Jewish population of the city judging themselves insulted destroyed the altar. This episode was made known to the Emperor and — according to Philo — Caligula decided just afer that to erect his own statue in the Jerusalem Temple. Philo gives no explanation of such behaviour of the Jews, but such an explanation is to be found in the Old Testament. The God threatens the Jews by great troubles for any forms of idol worship in Palestine, even if such acts are made by pagans (Exod., 34: 13 ff; Deut., 7: 25 ff.).
It is necessary to study this episode together with the story of lohannes Malalas concerning Antio-chia in the time of Caligula (Malalas, X, 315-317 — p. 244-246, ed. L. Dindorf). This account is full of fantastic details but the base of his account, a serious inter-ethnical conflict in Antiochia in the year 40 A.D., seems to be authentic. Caligula's decision to place his own statue in the Temple of Jerusalem might result in really serious inter-ethnical conflicts in many cities of the Near East.
A. Kudelin. “Life of the Prophet” by Ibn Ishāq — Ibn Hishām in the Context of Medieval Arabic Literature - 223
The article outlines the prospects of the study of literary aspects of as-Sīra an-nabawiyya written by Ibn Ishāq (d. 150/767) and Ibn Hisham (d. 218/833 or 213/828). Although the text is known among scholars mostly as a historical source, the new approach does not contradict to the results achieved by historians and is justified by the specific character of the book. On the authority of the testimonies of medieval authors supported by the results of modern studies, we can state that the Sīra is not a historical source based on strict “academic” criteria; that the Sīra cannot be treated as a verified collection of hadīth; that the Sīra as a source of reliable texts is often second to medieval poetical anthologies; and that, in spite of a great number of hagiographical elements in it, one cannot regard the text as an example of hagiography.
Peculiarities of the Life of the Prophet by Ibn Ishāq — Ibn Hishām as a piece of medieval Arabic schrifttums can be explained by the fact that it exhibits first distinct signs of the introduction of elements of fiction in a historical narrative at this early stage of the development of medieval Arabic literature (colourful details, subtle psychological descriptions, short but very up to the point portraits of story characters, all this practically without precedent in the tradition of early narratives among the Arabs, and so on).
The article discusses the possible reasons which can account for the introduction of the fiction elements in the Sīra.
А. Kozmoyan. Medieval Armenian Translations of Quran in the Manuscripts of the Matenadaran - 235
The depository of Yerevan Matenadaran for Mesrop Mashtots contains 17th and 18th century translations of Quran in the Old Armenian. Numerous copies of those translations are stored in different libraries worldwide. The manuscripts with numbers 934, 3109 and 2826 are of particular significance. The second part of Manuscript 934, which is not restored, is an autograph of Stepanos Lekhatsi, the translator of Quran, while Manuscript 3109 is found to be its copy: it was translated from the Latin.
However, there is another translation of Quran (Manuscript 2826), dated to 18th century; most likely, it was translated from the Arabic: the author is unknown since the manuscript lacks colophons.
Occasionally, these translations are accompanied by different apocryphal texts depicting relations of the Armenians with the Islamic world.
Dr S. Prozorov, M. Romanov. Electronic Databases on Islam in Arabic, Persian and English: A Review (Part 1) - 240
Three editions of the fundamental electronic databases on Islam are reviewed in the corresponding subsections of the piece.
1st subsection: Al-Mojam (arab. al-Mu'jam al-fiqhi, 2 CD, Ver. 3, 1422/2001, Qom, IRI) is a vast collection of literary sources on different aspects of the Islamic jurisprudence (al-fiqh) in Arabic (mostly) and Persian. Consisting of 1 131 works, this collection contains more then 3 000 fully searchable volumes and individual books.
2nd subsection: Jame (Software of Quranic Tafsir) is a collection (majmu'a) of the Shi'i commentaries to the Qur'an (al-tafsir), which contains 538 volumes in total (in Arabic and Persian), equal to 250 000 book pages, including 18 Persian translation of the Qur'an.
3rd subsection: Index Islamicus — unsurpassed neither in volume, nor in thematic coverage, by 2003, the electronic version of J. Pearson's bibliographic masterpiece has contained entries on more then 240 000 works written in many languages on almost all subjects of studies of Islamdom.
Within the subsections, narration follows a unified scheme:
- a detailed account on structure and contents of a database;
- description of how to use a database and its major features;
- characteristics and evaluation of the search capabilities.
Seven illustrations should provide a visual clue on how all these three databases are to be operated.
Dr S. Neveleva. The XXVth Zograph Readings: Problems of the Interpretation of the Traditional Indian Text. St. Petersburg, May 24-26, 2004 (1863-1934) - 258
Dr N. Kozlova. The Conference in Honour of the 90th Anniversary of I.M. D'yakonov - 264
Dr N. Velihanova. A. Shaginyan. Transcaucasian Area under the Rule of the Arab Caliphate - 266
Dr A. Grushevoi. Private Households and Public Politics in 3rd-5th Century Jewish Palestine - 270