Apocalyptic Hermeneutics in a Manuscript of Ḥurūfī Literature

Online lecture by Prof. Shahzad Bashir, Brown University/USA
Webinar series “Pre-modern Islamic manuscripts”

This talk will focus on a Persian manuscript dated to the year 1034 AH/1625 CE and currently held in Millet Library, Istanbul (Ali Emiri Farsça 993). The manuscript is a collection (majmūʿa) containing twenty small Ḥurūfi interpretive works and excerpts that collectively form a comprehensive introduction to the Ḥurūfī method. The manuscript is a remarkable collection, put together consciously as an apocalyptic primer in the seventeenth century. I will interpret the probable logic behind the compiler’s choices of works and their sequencing. The manuscript was produced at a time when the Ḥurūfīya was long dead as a politically active apocalyptic movement. The apocalyptic involved here, therefore, is a fundamental transformation of the perspective through which readers were expected to give meaning to existence, their own as well as of the world surrounding them. The manuscript’s form and content are equally important to understand it as a socially “situated” object that helps us reflect on the world in which it was created.

22 Sept 2021, 05:00 PM CET