Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Legal Education and Scholarship in the Middle Ages

Questions for Seminar:
  • What was the institutional framework for Islamic scholarship in the later Middle Ages?
  • From where did jurists get their authority?

Assigned Reading:
Jonathan Berkey, The Transmission of Knowledge in Medieval Cairo: A Social History of Islamic Education (Princeton University Press, 1992), chapter 3, “Institutions.”
Michael Chamberlain, Knowledge and Social Practice in Medieval Damascus, 1190-1350 (Cambridge University Press, 2002), chapter 2, “Madrasas, the Production of Knowledge, and the Reproduction of Elites.”

Primary Sources:

For class, please focus on the biographies of al-Mawardi (pp. 224-7), al-Kadi 't-Tanukhi (304-7), Hafada at-Tusi (644) and Ibn Dawud az-Zahiri (662-7).

Further Reading:
Shahab Ahmed and Nenad Filipovic, "The Sultan's Syllabus: A Curriculum for the Ottoman Imperial Medreses Prescribed in a Fermān of Qānūnī I Süleymān, Dated 973 (1565)," Studia Islamica 98/99 (2004), 183-218.
Richard Bulliet, The Patricians of Nishapur: A Study in Medieval Islamic Social History (Harvard University Press, 1972).
Leonor Fernandes, "The Foundation of Baybars al-Jashankir: Its Waqf, History, and Architecture", Muqarnas, 4 (1987), pp. 21-42.
Yehoshu'a Frenkel, "Political and Social Aspects of Islamic Religious Endowments (awqaf): Saladin in Cairo (1169-73) and Jerusalem (1187-93), Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 62 (1999), 1-20.
Konrad Hirschler, The Written Word in the Medieval Arabic Lands: A Social and Cultural History of Reading Practices (Edinburgh UP, 2013).
George Makdisi, "Madrasa," EI2
George Makdisi, The Rise of Colleges: Institutions of Learning in Islam and the West (Edinburgh University Press, 1984).
Carl Petry, The Civilian Elite of Cairo in the Later Middle Ages (Princeton University Press, 1981).
az-Zarnuji, Ta'lim al-muta'allim - Tariq at-ta'allum / Instruction of a Student: The Method of Learning, trans. G.E. von Grunebaum and Theodora M. Abel (New York: King's Crown, 1947) - digitized at HathiTrust.