Jewish-Muslim Intellectual History Entangled: Textual Materials from the Firkovitch Collection, Saint Petersburg - cover image

Book Series


Camilla Adang; Bruno Chiesa; Omar Hamdan; Wilferd Madelung; Sabine Schmidtke; Jan Thiele

Published On





  • English

Print Length

504 pages (viii+496)


Paperback156 x 26 x 234 mm(6.14" x 1.02" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 38 x 234 mm(6.14" x 1.5" x 9.21")


Paperback1550g (54.67oz)
Hardback2496g (88.04oz)



OCLC Number





  • JFSR1
  • HRH
  • HB


  • HIS022000
  • REL037010


  • DS119.7


  • library of the Karaite
  • Cairo
  • manuscript
  • medieval literary genres
  • Hebrew
  • Arabic

Jewish-Muslim Intellectual History Entangled

Textual Materials from the Firkovitch Collection, Saint Petersburg

Jewish-Muslim Intellectual History Entangled unearths forgotten texts that once belonged to the library of the Karaite community in Cairo. Consigned to oblivion for centuries, many of these manuscripts were sold in the second half of the nineteenth century to the National Library of Russia in St Petersburg, where they remained inaccessible to most scholars until the end of the Cold War.

The texts from the Karaite library cover a remarkable spectrum of medieval literary genres and scholarly disciplines, spanning works by Jewish, Muslim and Christian authors, in both Hebrew and Arabic. As such, they provide unique access to an otherwise lost body of literature from the medieval Islamicate world.

This timely volume presents, for the first time, edited fragments of six texts by adherents of the Muʿtazila, a school of rational theology that emerged in the eighth century CE, including Karaite copies and recensions of works by Muslim authors, notably ʿAbd al-Jabbār al-Hamadhānī and ʿAbd Allāh b. Saʿīd al-Labbād, as well as original Jewish Muʿtazilī treatises. The collection is concluded by an anonymous Rabbanite refutation of the highly influential polemical tract against Judaism, entitled Ifḥām al-yāhūd.

This collection offers unprecedented insights into the intellectual crossroads between Muslims and Jews of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. It will be an invaluable resource to students and scholars engaged with this period of history.


The publication of this volume is an event that calls for celebration. The result of academic, inter-national and inter-generational collaboration at its best, it crosses modern disciplinary boundaries. Identifying and reconstructing fragments of major, lost works, written in Arabic by Jews as well as by Muslims, and preserved in either Hebrew or in Arabic characters, it offers a thrilling contribution to closing the gaping holes in our mu’tazilite library. The retrieval of these lost treasures from the common medieval culture is a major contribution that may eventually enable us to rethink this chapter of the intellectual history of the Islamicate world.

Sarah Stroumsa

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem



(pp. 1–60)
  • Camilla Adang
  • Bruno Chiesa
  • Omar Hamdan
  • Wilferd Madelung
  • Sabine Schmidtke
  • Jan Thiele


(pp. 91–494)


    Bruno Chiesa

    Professor in the Department of Oriental Studies at University of Toronto

    Omar Hamdan

    Professor at the Center for Islamic Theology at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

    Wilferd Madelung

    Laudian Professor of Arabic at University of Oxford

    Sabine Schmidtke

    Professor of Islamic Intellectual History in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University

    Jan Thiele

    Ramón y Cajal Research Fellow at the Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences at Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas