Article ID: CBB001552256

An Ambiguous Beginning: Al-Ẓāhir Wa-Al-Bāṭin in Ibn Khaldūn's Preface to the Muqaddima (2015)


Ever since the rediscovery of Ibn Khald n's Muqaddima in modern times, debates have been ongoing regarding his identity as a scholar: was he a revolutionary thinker in the modern sense of the word, breaking away from classical and medieval modes of thinking, or was he in fact a conservative Muslim scholar who did not venture far from his traditional Muslim horizons? Through a careful examination of the preface to the Muqaddima, this article shows what he thought about the nature of his project and why he thought it necessary. Accordingly, it builds the case that Ibn Khald n is indeed a revolutionary -- but not in the modern sense of the word -- who did not shy away from challenging tradition in order to reform society's moral and political horizons. An examination of the preface alone will not provide a definitive answer to the question of Ibn Khald n's radical vs. conservative thought, but it does put his conservatism (apparent and real) in context.

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Authors & Contributors
Smith, Pamela H.
Park, Katharine
Daston, Lorraine J.
Charette, François
Baali, Fuad
Ahmad, Zaid
Aleph: Historical Studies in Science and Judaism
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie Médiévales
Tarikh-e Elm (The Iranian Journal for the History of Science)
Journal of Early Modern History
Edwin Mellen Press
SISMEL edizioni del Galluzzo
Fundación El Legado Andalusí
Columbia University
Arab/Islamic world, civilization and culture
Cross-cultural interaction; cultural influence
Ibn Khaldun
Levi Ben Gershon
Ibn al-Haytham, Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan
Mediterranean region
Great Britain
Andalusia (Spain)
14th century
12th century
13th century
17th century
15th century
Université de Montpellier

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