The Leiden Lectures on Arabic Language and Culture were initiated in 2013 on the occasion of the 400-year anniversary of the founding of the chair of Arabic at Leiden University. Each year an outstanding scholar in the field is invited to present a lecture on the rich and enjoyable variety of classical Arabic texts and their significance and relevance for today’s world.
This book contains the first three lectures delivered by Petra Sijpesteijn, James E. Montgomery and Geert Jan van Gelder. From the reasons to study Arabic in the 17th century and today, to the jokes written into apparently serious scientific treatises, these three lectures together demonstrate the historical and cultural richness of the Arabic literary world.
Petra Sijpesteijn, Professor of Arabic at Leiden University, obtained a PhD in Near Eastern Studies (2004) from Princeton University. She is the author of Shaping a Muslim State. The World of a Mid-Eighth-Century Egyptian Official (Oxford 2013). James Montgomery is the Sir Thomas Adams’s Professor of Arabic at Cambridge University. He is the author of Al-Jāḥiẓ: In Praise of Books (Edingburgh 2013). Geert Jan van Gelder is emeritus Laudian Professor of Arabic at Oxford University. He is the author of Sound and Sense in Classical Arabic Poetry (Wiesbaden 2012) and Classical Arabic Literature: A Library of Arabic Literature Anthology (New York and London 2013).