Universiteit Leiden

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The Future of Arabic's Past

Thursday 21 September 2017
Free to visit, drinks after
WHAT's NEW?! Fall Lecture Series
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Jabal Usays inscription, 528CE southern Syria, Photo: M.C.A. Macdonald, courtesy OCIANA.

Discussion panel

Archaeological excavations, epigraphic surveys, and new attention to documentary evidence have revealed an Ancient Arabia and Old Arabic distinct in many ways from the images painted by traditional Muslim works. To launch the volume Arabic in Context: celebrating 400 years of Arabic at Leiden University (Ahmad Al-Jallad (ed.), Brill, 2017), a panel of Leiden scholars, and a surprise guest, will discuss some of the salient ways this shift in perspective has changed our approach and understanding of the history of Arabic and its speakers. 

And also: Ahmad Al-Jallad will present a newly discovered Arabic inscription with HUGE historical implications. Don’t miss it. 

After the talk, you can visit the Brill Publishers booth with discounted books for sale for those who attend. Get your copy of Arabic in Context at an unbelievably low price!

About the speakers

Ahmad Al-Jallad

Ahmad Al-Jallad specializes in the early history of Arabic and North Arabian.  He has done research on Arabic from the pre-Islamic period based on documentary sources, the Graeco-Arabica (Arabic in Greek transcription from the pre-Islamic period), language classification, North Arabian epigraphy, and historical Semitic linguistics. Recently, he edited the volume Arabic in Context: celebrating 400 years of Arabic at Leiden University.


Marijn van Putten

Marijn van Putten is a researcher at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics. In 2016, he received a Veni grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for his project Before the Grammarians: Arabic in the formative period of Islam. Van Putten studies Arabic language material in, for example, Greek and Hebrew scripts to find out how Arabic was spoken at the time. 



Peter Webb

Peter Webb specialises in the literature and culture of pre-modern Islam. In 2017, he received an NWO Veni grant for his project EPIC PASTS: Pre-Islam Through Muslim Eyes. Webb studies 9th and 10th century Arabic texts in order to reevaluate the way Muslims at the time remembered and reconstructed the history of pre-Islam. 


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