Kal’la wa-Dimna online

Online Workshops on July 20 and 27, 2020 - In cooperation between the Columbia Global Center, Amman, Columbia University, New York, and Freie Universität Berlin

No 126/2020 from Jul 20, 2020

Two online workshops on July 20 and 27, 2020, will deal with the adaptation and translation of Kal’la wa-Dimna and the Arabic versions of the work. The workshops are being carried out in cooperation between the Columbia Global Center, Amman, Columbia University, New York, and Freie Universität Berlin via Zoom. They are public and free of charge. Registration in advance is required. The workshop language is English.

Kal’la wa-Dimna is a text that is central to both Arabic and world literature. A collection of stories teaching political wisdom, it transcended languages, cultures, and religions. Throughout the centuries, the book traveled from India via the Middle East to Europe. In its course, it was translated from Sanskrit via Middle Persian and Arabic to Hebrew, Latin (under the title Directorium vitae humanae) and most European vernaculars, as well as Near Eastern, South Asian, and South-East Asian languages. Its religious and social context changed from Hinduism via Zoroastrianism to Islam, and from there to Christianity.

The work’s multilingual history involving circa forty languages has never been systematically studied.  Beatrice Gründler, who in 2019 was awarded the Berliner Wissenschaftspreis for her services to Arabic, and her team are working on a digital edition of the early versions as part of the AnonymClassic project at Freie Universität Berlin. The AnonymClassic project is being funded by the European Research Council. The workshops are part of a series in which the project and the findings at mid-term are presented to a wider audience. Recordings of previous lectures are available here online.

The series is being moderated by Matthew L. Keegan , formerly a research fellow in the AnonymClassic project and now Moinian Assistant Professor at Barnard College (Columbia University, NYC).

Program of Workshops 2 and 3

Monday, July 20, 4 p.m., Berlin

The Adaptations and Translations of Kal’la wa-Dimna
Moderated by Matthew L. Keegan

What Makes a Good Friend? Analysis of the Two Syriac Translations of "The Cat and the Mouse"
Lecture by Jan J. van Ginkel, Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Freie Universität Berlin

Na’r All’h Munsh?’s preface to a Persian Kal’la wa-Dimna
Lecture by Theodore S. Beers, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Freie Universität Berlin

"The Book of the Panther and the Fox" and other siblings of Kal’la wa-Dimna Lecture by Isabel Toral, Senior Postdoc Researcher, Deputy Head of the ERC project, Freie Universität Berlin

The Arabic Versions of Kal’la wa-Dimna

Moderated by Matthew L. Keegan

Manuscripts of Kal’la wa-Dimna: Their Relation and Redaction
Lecture by Beatrice Gründer, Professor of Arabic Language and Literature, Freie Universität Berlin

An Overview of the Variety of Versions of Kal’la wa-Dimna
Lecture by Khouloud Khalfallah, Researcher, Freie Universität Berlin

Poetic Moments. The Literary Significance of Middle Arabic in Kal’la wa-Dimna Manuscripts from the Early Modern Period
Lecture by Johannes Stephan, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Freie Universität Berlin

Discussion with Devin Stewart, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies and MESAS Chair, Emory College of Arts and Scienes, Emory University

The Series on YouTube

Recordings of the events are available on the Columbia Global Center, Amman website (webinars) via a YouTube link: globalcenters.columb­ia.edu/content/amman-webinars

July 6, 2020:
The Digital Kal’la wa-Dimna: Editing an Unruly Classic
Opening discussion with project leader Beatrice Gründler and Rima Redwan 

July 13, 2020:
Digital Humanities and Digital Editions
Workshop with Mahmoud Kozae and Theodore S. Beers

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