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The Long Ninth Century in Arabic-Islamic Knowledge and Culture

Third Annual Lecture Series at Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies (BGSMCS) to Start April 26 – Organized and Moderated by Arabic Studies Scholar Prof. Dr. Beatrice Gründler

№ 119/2016 from Apr 21, 2016

The Long Ninth Century AD in the Arabic-Islamic Near East will be addressed in a lecture series at the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies. The series includes three lectures to be given in English. The lectures will be held between April 26 and June 28, 2016, at Freie Universität Berlin, and admission is free. The first lecture will be given by the renowned professor of Greek-Arab studies, Dimitri Gutas (Yale University and Einstein Visiting Fellow der BGSMCS). It will deal with the reception of the Greek philosopher Aristotle in the Arab-speaking world. The works of Aristotle, whose 2400th birthday is being celebrated this year, were introduced in European languages through translations from Syriac and Arabic.

The Long Ninth Century AD was a period of intense cultural activity in the Arabic-Islamic Near East. Under the rule of the Abbasid dynasty, a society emerged that saw itself as cosmopolitan and intellectual. A cultural successor to Byzantium and Persia, this society imported and developed their heritage, notably Greek philosophy and natural sciences and Persian statecraft, and simultaneously created new scholarly disciplines to investigate its own linguistic, literary, and religious heritage and the contemporary world around it.

In this series, three scholars will address the reception of Aristotle in the ninth century, the new ways of life of the residents of Baghdad, and the geographical fiction by the writer and scholar Ibn al-Faqih al-Hamadhani.

This lecture series is linked to the two previous series at the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies that were held in 2014 and 2015. They addressed the consequences of the presence of Muslims in Europe for the European identity and the significance of Islamic art in the 21st century.

Further Information

Time and Location

  • Tuesdays, April 26, May 31, and June 28, 2016; 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Fabeckstraße 23/25, Room 2.2058, 3rd floor, 14195 Berlin; subway station: Dahlem-Dorf (U3)

Lecture Topics

April 26, 2016
"The Reception of Aristotle in the Long Ninth Century in Early Abbasid Iraq
Dimitri Gutas, Professor of Arabic and Greco-Arabic, Yale University
(in cooperation between BGSMCS and the Einstein Foundation Berlin and the Dahlem Humanities Center)

May 31, 2016
„"The New Psychology of Ninth Century Baghdad: Self-Concepts vs. Social Codes"

Julia Bray, Laudian Professor of Arabic, University of Oxford

June 28, 2016
„"From Seriousness to Jest and vice versa in the Geography of Ibn al-Faqīh al-Hamadhānī (fl. 289/902)"

Geert Jan van Gelder, Research Fellow, Laudian Professor emeritus, University of Oxford


  • Prof. Dr. Beatrice Gründler, Seminar for Semistic and Arabic Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-69489, Email beatrice.gruendler@fu-berlin.de
  • Dr. Bettina Gräf, Managing Director, Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, Tel.: +49 30 838-53417, Email: md@bgsmcs.fu-berlin.de