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CSI'S Monday Majlis: Beatrice Gruendler

Miscarriage of Justice and Dissenting Re(d)actions in Kalīla wa-Dimna

The CSI Monday Majlis is a Monday evening, online event, where invited speakers present on aspects of their current research

Event details



In the course of its history, Kalīla wa-Dimna turns from a mirror of kings and courtiers into a popular manual of practical ethics and philosophy. In this process two of its chapters which speak specifically to the administration of justice, or rather the miscarriage of justice, change under the pens of successive copyists more than others. The topic clearly prompted reactions from copyist-redactors, who deploy long individual additions in certain versions, changing the plot and developing the ethical positions of the characters. In the chapter of Lion and Jackal (which can be compared to its Mahābhārata source) copyist-redactors ventriloquize for the queen and the jackal, lecturing and reprimanding the king. In the chapter of Dimna’s Trail, which is a wholesale addition by Ibn al-Muqaffaʿ, elements of the former chapter are reused, and copyist-redactors likewise interfere substantially, showing that a ruler’s crime and its cover up with a mock trial was an issue that caught attention and occupied the minds.Bio

Beatrice Gruendler (PhD Harvard University 1995, formerly Professor at Yale University (1996-2014) is Professor of Arabic at the Freie Universität Berlin. Her areas of research include Arabic codicology, the history of the Arabic language, classical Arabic poetry and its social context, early Arabic book-culture viewed within the history of media, and the role of classical Arabic literature at the crossroads of premodern global literature. She is the author of The Development of the Arabic Scripts: From the Nabatean Era to the First Islamic Century (1993, Arabic trans. 2004), Medieval Arabic Praise Poetry: Ibn al-Rūmī and the Patron’s Redemption (2003), and The Life and Times of Abū Tammām (Akhbār Abī Tammām) by Abū Bakr Muhammad ibn Yaḥyā al-Ṣūlī (2015), and The Rise of the Arabic Book (2020).

In the spirit of the label ‘Majlis’ and also to make the talks even more interesting, we are experimenting with a new format presenting the topic discussed by our speaker as embedded in their own research journey. Please come and enjoy the talks and the discussions. If you’d like to be included in the CSI (Centre for the Study of Islam (Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter) mailing list, please contact the CSI Manager: Sarah Wood (

We’ll be happy to welcome you!

Istvan T Kristó-Nagy

We’d like to invite you to the next online Monday Majlis of the Centre for the Study of Islam, Exeter:
Monday the 13th Februarary, 17:00-18:30 (UK time,  Beatrice Gruendler, Miscarriage of Justice and Dissenting Re(d)actions in Kalīla wa-Dimna

Registration is required.

Register please on this link: