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Institute for Multi-Cultural Research


A Model for Applying Jauss Reception Theory: The Role of Rumors in the Reception of Memory in the Flesh1
Clara Srouji-Shajrawi
The book is full of life not like a human being, but like an antheap (Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value)

. " 3 ) " (

This paper aims to present a short introduction to Reception Theory supplemented with a suggested model to apply to the modern Arabic novel. The model points to the extra- and intraliterary criteria that determine the success or failure of a literary text. It seems from this study that there is an additional factor
1. The origin of this paper was in part a lecture given at the conference: The Horizon of Reception Studies: Literature and Beyond at Ben-Gurion University on 12th June, 2012. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, ed. G.H. von Wright, trans. Peter Winch (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006), 71. "Every text comes with its own store of life, death and certitude, but no one knows the secret. Maybe the writer is the one who knows the least. Wsn al-raj, Lolitas Fingers (Beirt: Dr al-db, 2012), 14. It is worth mentioning that the first two parts of this novel deal with the subject of creative writing and the relation between the writer and his readers in the process of receiving the novel. What makes a novel a best seller is dealt with very attractively. Therefore, some components of the model suggested in the present article for applying the Reception Theory can be found in the first two parts of Lolitas Fingers. Although metafiction and intertextuality are prominent in this novel, as they are in the Trilogy of Mustaghnam, this cannot be retrospectively used to confirm the rumor that Wsn al-raj wrote Memory in the Flesh.

2. 3.


A Model for Applying Jauss Reception Theory

which played a positive role in the reception of the novel Memory in the Flesh, namely: rumors. The effect of the rumors that surrounded this novel, in various media, will be shown followed by Mustaghnams response to all these rumors. Some references in this paper are links to sites in the internet as they portray the reception of the non-specialist public to this novel. A Short Introduction of Reception Theory Reception Theory (Rezeptionsthetik), which appeared in Germany between 1960 and 1980, focused on the interaction between the text and the reading public rather than on the author. It is concerned with the collective social effects of a work of art in a certain historical period, given the prevailing moral values and the cultural-sociological circumstances. This theory was introduced by Hans Robert Jauss but was initially neglected outside Germany.

According to this theory, the

literary work is dynamic and reflects the readers aesthetic tastes and their historical, social and cultural contexts. The responses to a literary work are modified in the process of reading and thus the whole literary-historical complex is
4. Along with the Reception Theory another approach appeared in the Konstanz School also. It is known as Reader-Response theory (Wirkungssthetik) and was introduced by Wolfgang Iser. The concern of this approach is the individual reader and her/his interpretive activities in explaining a texts significance and aesthetic value. For additional study see, Jeremy Lane, Reception Theory and ReaderResponse (1): Hans Robert Jauss, Wolfgang Iser and the School of Konstanz, The Continuum Encyclopedia of Modern Criticism and Theory, Julian Wolfreys (ed.) (New York, London: The Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006), 280287.


Clara Srouji-Shajrawi

reformulated anew. This implies a rejection of an established canon of literature and a search for a liberal and dynamic formation of the canon. Jauss approach to the canon acknowledges the dialogical and mutual relationship between the literary work, whether classic or new, and its audience. Reception Theory as a hermeneutical theory puts the public of readers in the center of the interactive relation between the literary text and its audience. Readers are responsible for determining the meaning of the text, its value and its acceptance or rejection. Thus, the public gives the work of art its legitimacy. But the publics judgment of a literary text may change because of the historical and social changes in aesthetic taste. In his essay, Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory,5 Jauss aimed to overcome the limitations of both the Marxist and the Formalist approaches. For him, it is not sufficient to pay attention only to the socio-historical context as


This essay provides the main points of Jauss Reception Theory along with his attitude to other literary theories of literature. See Hans Robert Jauss, Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception, trans. Timothy Bahti (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), 3-45. For an analysis of this essay in Arabic see the following book,

- : .53-35 )1122 : (
(Reception Theory in the Modern Arabic Novel: An Applied Study in Two Trilogies by N. Maf and A. Mustaghnam) (Baqa Al-Gharbiyya: Al-Qasemi Arabic Language Academy, 2011) 35-57.


A Model for Applying Jauss Reception Theory

the Marxists did, or to overestimate the text and its aesthetic devices as seen in Formalism.6 The two main concepts in Jauss Reception Theory are: the horizon of expectation and aesthetic distance. By horizon of expectation he means a system of references that a hypothetical individual brings to a given text. Therefore, the reader always reads a work within some horizon of expectation. The literary work may accord with her/his expectation or it may surpass or even disappoint that expectation. If no disappointment of expectations occurs, then the aesthetic distance between the reader and the literary work is easily bridgeable and the text will be close to "culinary art". On the other hand, if the work breaks the reader's horizon of expectations then the aesthetic distance is considerable, implying a work of high art that contributes to the establishment of a new horizon of expectation. Yet, sometimes the readers are not able to recognize the new aspects of a literary work and therefore show negative responses toward it or simply neglect it. This response of negativity/neglect will change later when a new readership, with a new system of references and values, replaces the previous generation.


On how Russian Formalism influenced Reception Theory see Ibid., 25-28; Robert, C. Holub. Reception Theory: A Critical Introduction (London, New York: Methuen & Co. Ltd, 1984), 15-16.


Clara Srouji-Shajrawi

In Jauss later book, Aesthetic Experience and Literary Hermeneutics, the horizon of expectation plays a less important role. Jauss is much more concerned with the productive, receptive and communicative aspects of the aesthetic experience. He introduces his theory through criticizing Adornos concept of Negativity. According to Adorno, authentic art is defined by its opposition to authority, by negating social and political practices. Only in this way does art achieve a positive social role. Only an avant-garde concept of art can survive, and artistic experience is autonomous only when it rids itself of pursuing pleasure. Jauss thesis opposes Adornos view by declaring that an attitude of enjoyment which art creates is the aesthetic experience par excellence. By this, he emphasized the sensory experience and communicative interaction between art and its audience.7 Jauss returned to Aristotles Poetics in order to justify cathartic pleasure by which Aristotle attacked Plato for his condemnation of art. Cathartic identification has a liberating function through tragic emotion or comic relief, as earlier described by Aristotle. Jauss discussion of Levels of


For further details see Hans Robert Jauss, Aesthetic Experience and Literary Hermeneutics, trans. Michael Shaw, introduction by Wlad Godzich (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), xiv-xv, 13-15; Peter Uwe Hohendahl, Autonomy of Art: Looking Back at Adornos sthetische Theorie, The German Quarterly, Vol. 54, No. 2 (March, 1981), 133-134.


A Model for Applying Jauss Reception Theory

Identification of Hero and Audience

brings back the

legitimacy of human emotions in aesthetic experience. Therefore, art/literature can achieve its role in society not only by opposing authority and introducing revolutionary thoughts, or renovating in style, but also when it speaks to our minds and emotions. Art/literature can change society because it has the power to change our norms, values and states of mind. Jauss saw his theory as a hermeneutical approach; therefore, he developed a process of interpreting a text which includes three stages: intelligere, interpretare, applicare (understanding, interpretation and application). 9 This process in reading and understanding a text is useful to the understanding and evaluation of the text. It is also helpful in revealing the role played by the readers prejudices and previous knowledge in determining the interpretation of a text. It presents the communicative act between the reader and the text (subject and

8. 9.

See Hans Robert Jauss, Levels of Identification of Hero and Audience, New Literary History, 2 (Winter 1974), 283-317. See Jauss, The Poetic Text within the Change of Horizons of Reading: The Example of Baudelaires Spleen II, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception, 139. Jauss confesses that he goes further than Michael Riffaterre who developed his structural stylistics into a Semiotics of Poetry (1978). According to Jauss, the interest in Riffaterres mentioned book is more in the pregiven elements of reception and in the rules of actualization than in the aesthetic activity of the reader who takes up or receives the text (Ibid., 141). In return, Jauss seeks to divide this activity into the two hermeneutic acts, understanding and interpretation, in that he distinguishes reflective interpretation as the phase of a second reading from immediate understanding within aesthetic perception as the phase of the first reading. See Ibid.


Clara Srouji-Shajrawi

object) as a dialogicity that accepts the object in its otherness, enabling change to occur in both directions.10 The difficulty in applying such a theory lies in finding a suitable method of measuring the reception of a literary text in accordance with the audiences taste in different times and places. To my mind, Jauss Reception Theory may be applied to any literary text in three ways or directions due to the following aspects: The relationship between a group of readers at a definite time and place (for example a group of students in a classroom) and the text. Here we should return to the three steps that Jauss mentioned when he talked about the hermeneutical process. This direction is helpful in the pedagogical realm in the attempt to teach the students a literary text.

The relationship between the individual critic and other critical writings in synchronic and diachronic periods.12 Here

10. See Hans Robert Jauss, The Id entity of the Poetic Text in the Changing Horizon of Understanding, Reception Study, Eds.: James L. Machor and Philip Goldstein (New York, London: Routledge, 2001), 7-28. 11. The use of Reception Theory in the pedagogical realm, taking into account the students as the reading public, will be dealt in another article supplied with examples from the modern Arabic short story. 12. See, for example, Jauss essay: Jobs questions and answers from afar (Goethe, Nietzsche, Heidegger), Question and Answer: Forms of Dialogic Understanding, edited and translated by Michael Hays (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989), 105-118.


A Model for Applying Jauss Reception Theory

we can check how different readers, in diverse times and places, interpret the same literary text and how the aesthetic tastes vary in different periods and places. In short, we examine the history of the reception of the text. The relationship between the different kinds of readers and a literary text. The third direction combines within it also the first and the second aspects. This paper contributes to the elaboration of Reception Theory by suggesting an applicable model/method for discovering the extra- and intra-literary criteria that determine the success or failure of a literary text.

A Model for Applying the Reception Theory

The Response/Reception of the Public to the Literary Work

Extra-Literary Indicators

Intra-Literary Indicators

The suggested method runs in two directions: the first (ExtraLiterary Indicators) looks upon the literary text as a product in the marketplace. Public readers are the consumers who buy the product and may enjoy or reject it. The word consumer here means the general reader as well as the specialized critics. Thus, the first direction of investigation looks for objective and obvious indicators of the success of a literary work such as its becoming a best seller, its translations into different languages,


Clara Srouji-Shajrawi

its transformation into a film, its re-publishing in multiple editions, its critical acclaim. It checks all the following factors: Extra-Literary Indicators Web site of the author The book design and the comments written on its cover (blurb) Number of editions/number of copies sold/(non official) pirated editions Translation into different languages Editing a special bibliography Opinions/sayings/comments of famous people (such as leaders/artists/writers) published in newspapers and public journals Transformation of the literary text into a film, play or a television series The literary works of the writer become a part of the canon Interviews with the writer in different media Prizes awarded to the writer The second direction analyzes the intra-literary criteria. This means studying the literary work from two main perspectives: form and content. Moreover, the study examines whether the novel is in accordance with the readers horizon of expectations, or offers something different which disappoints their

expectations and causes them to reject it because of its unfamiliarity. In addition, it is important to check the difference


A Model for Applying Jauss Reception Theory

in the public attitude (their enjoyment or rejection and their interpretations) between those who witnessed the first publication of the novel and the readers of today.

Intra-Literary Indicators

Synchronic & Diachronic Readings by Critics + Current Reading



* How are the Characters structured? * The Narrator/ Forms of Focalization * Place & Time * The Closure of the Text * Language * Semiotics of the Title and the Cover

* Dialogue * Description * Emotions/Thoughts /Subjects * Acts


Clara Srouji-Shajrawi

The application of Reception Theory on the modern Arabic novel was not carried out by previous authors; even the theory was not studied in depth.13 In my book Reception Theory in the Modern Arabic Novel (2011) I have applied the Reception Theory and the proposed model to two Trilogies that were popular bestsellers in the Arab world: (1) The Cairo Trilogy (written in the 1950s) by Najb Maf who was the Nobel Prize laureate in 1988) and (2) The Trilogy by a woman writer from Algiers, Alm Mustaghnam (written in the late 1990s). This article focuses only on one parameter (the rumors) which is specific to the novel Memory in the Flesh as an additional factor not mentioned in the originally proposed model. This fact points to the flexibility of the model that is always open to accept new indicators that serve well in explaining the reception of a literary work.

A General Look at the Reception of Mustaghnams Trilogy

Mustaghnams Trilogy fulfilled the extra-literary indicators that represent the readers enthusiastic response to her work. Many articles were written by specialists in literary criticism and by "the man in the street". 14 Several Arabic and English
13. By current reading in the above chart I mean my own reading of the two Trilogies by Maf and Mustaghnam. 14. See for example the following articles by specialists:


A Model for Applying Jauss Reception Theory

a) Articles and book chapters in Arabic:
.2 .)6002( : ( . .1 .987-693 )5002( ) .5 "" " () " Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, 24 (2004), 166-181.
,971-602 ) : 3 . (.

b) Articles in English:
1. da A. Bmia, Dhakirat al-jasad (The Bodys Memory): A new outlook on old themes, Research in African Literature, 28 (3) (Fall 1997), 85-94. 2. Ellen McLarney, Unlocking the Female in Alm Mustaghnam, Journal of Arabic Literature, 33 (1), pp. 24-44. 3. Tanja Stampfl, The (im)possibility of Telling: of Algeria and Memory in the Flesh, College Literature, 37 (1), Winter 2010, pp. 129-158. 4. Elizabeth M. Holt, In a Language That Was Not His Own: On Alm Mustaghnams Dhkirat al-jasad and its French Translation Mmoires de la chair, Journal of Arabic Literature, 28 (2008), pp. 123-140. 5. James McDougall, Social Memories in the Flesh: War and Exile in Algerian Self-Writing, Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, 30 (2010), pp. 34-56.

c) There are so many articles by the public readers provided by different sites in the internet. The following are only a few examples:
" .2 .6001 91 " http://www.doroob.com/?p=3420 " .1 " " : . " http://www.khayyat.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=News &file=article&sid=337&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0&POST NUKESID=e02747b5e3c9ac0a99b82686ce868bef .6990196006 613 " " .5 http://www.ahewar.org/debat/show.art.asp?aid=3071


Clara Srouji-Shajrawi

newspapers wrote about the author, concentrating on her first novel.15 She was interviewed by various forms of the media.16 Many prizes were awarded to her in recognition of her excellent writing. 17 Her Trilogy became part of the Arabic and world literary canon and is taught in several European, American, Israeli and Arab universities. Until now only the first and second parts of her Trilogy have been translated into more than five languages. Millions of copies (official and pirated editions) have been sold throughout the Arab world.18 ________________________
- ( " " .4 .9990396007 ) http://fedaa.alwehda.gov.sy/_archive.asp?FileName=39455805020070 311074535
15. See for example in English:

Ferial J. Ghazoul, Memory and Desire, Al-Ahram Weekly On-line 409 (24-30 December 1998). Also provided on the following site: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/1998/409/cu2.htm; Kim Jensen, A Literature Born from Wounds: Ahlam Mustaghnams Memory in the Flesh, Aljadid 8-39 (Spring 2002). Also provided on the following site: http://leb.net/~aljadid/reviews/0839jensen.htm
16. You can listen to Mustaghnams voice by following the interview o n the

Tunisian Radio: http://www.ameurbouazza.com/radio-monastir/safar-radio-monastir.php; See also the following interview in French: Hakim Katib, Alm Mustaghnam: Assia Djebbar nest pas reprsentative de la socit algrienne, Forum Algerie, date 12/04/2006. http://www.algerie-dz.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19760
17. See the following site about the prizes awarded to the writer

18. For further details about the reception of Mustaghnams Trilogy in the

Arab world and in the West see.


A Model for Applying Jauss Reception Theory

Doubts and Rumors Surrounding the Author of Memory in the Flesh Memory in the Flesh (1993) attracted readers from diverse classes and ages. They enjoyed reading the novel and, since the first edition, have shown enthusiastic interest in her work. Their positive aesthetic judgment preceded the scholastic academic one. For example, the Lebanese singer (Jheda Wahb) has chosen paragraphs from Memory in the Flesh and turned them into beautiful songs, thus demonstrating the poetic language of the novel. This novel was also adapted into a television series in Ramadn (2010). Along with the wide reception of the novel, some male readers, critics and journalists, declared their doubts about the authors identity. They credited the authorship of the novel to various famous male poets in the Arab world such as the Syrian poet Nizr Qabbn, the Algerian writer Wsn al-raj, and the Iraqi poet Sad Ysuf. They based their doubts on two points: (a) The resemblance between her poetic style and that of the above male authors and (b) The fact that Mustaghnam is not a novelist. She had written some poems in the 1970s but since then had written nothing. Yet Memory in the Flesh is a sophisticated novel. It ________________________
- .000-307


Clara Srouji-Shajrawi

is distinguished by a highly poetic language and a successful portrayal of the male sexual desires of the hero-narrator (Khled). The men's dubious response may be seen as an indicator of a patriarchal society. Nevertheless, the rumors that surrounded Mustaghnams first novel played a positive role in its wide reception. The audience was fascinated by its beautiful language, and followed the heros stream of consciousness which alternated between two places (Algiers and France) and two periods (past and present) and intertwined national history with a personal love story. Years after the publication of Memory in the Flesh the doubts and rumors continued, and it was the theme of a discussion on al-Jazra Television on 17th July 2000 in alMashhad al-Thaqf (The cultural scene) hosted by Tawfq Taha who tried to telephone Sad Ysuf (one of the presumed fathers of this novel) but the author refused to give his answer about his putative fatherhood of the novel or to discuss the issue. Mustaghnam, who was invited to this television program, said that she had given her original copy to Sad Ysuf who read it and gave her some notes, but she refused to make changes to her novel which she, herself, had created. She admonished the Iraqi poet for he did not state unambiguously that he was not the author but remained silent about the subject,


A Model for Applying Jauss Reception Theory

though he was perfectly capable of putting an end to these rumors. This program also invited the Lebanese journalist, Abdu Wzen, who wrote two articles about Mustaghnam in alayt in 1998 and 2008. 19 He said that he was sure that Mustaghnam was the author, yet he did not like her style. Nevertheless, he was astonished by the great enthusiasm shown by the reading public. According to Abdu Wzen, the popularity of Memory in the Flesh was not because it dealt with the subject of the Algerians revolution or the sociopolitical situation of Algeria today but because it resembled a popular Mexican television series. Mustaghnam replied to all these rumors by writing a second and a third part of the Trilogy that also attracted the audience; Faw al-awss (Chaos of the Senses) (1998) and ber Sarr (Passer by a Bed) (2003).20 She decided to bring legal action against all those who claimed that her authorship was suspect as published in the newspaper al-Quds al-Arab (July 25th, 2000).21

19. See

.6390296008 " " 6399699118 " "

20. It is worth to mention here Mustaghnams recent novel al-swad yalq

biki (Black looks great on you) (2012).

21. See

" " .9 )6000 61( 3081 :96


Clara Srouji-Shajrawi

Horizon of Expectation & Aesthetic Distance The story of love and the story of the homeland are interwoven in Mustaghnams Trilogy. The writer succeeded in portraying the situation of her homeland, Algeria, in its political, ideological and sociological aspects since colonialism and especially after gaining its independence. As readers in the twenty-first century we can still feel and understand the consequences of the mentioned situation on the Arab world today. This implies that the horizon of expectation of the author is not strange to our horizon of expectation especially as Arab readers. For example, the ideological conflict between moderate Islam and fundamentalist Islam is still a burning issue in most Arab states and it is one that the author tries to allude to indirectly. This means that the aesthetic distance between the Trilogy and the readers is small, as regards content, which explains its wide reception. The sensual/emotional love affair between Khled, the middle-aged militant who turned to painting after losing his left arm in the struggle against the French, and the young daughter of his friend S her, captivated many readers. Algeria's struggle against foreign domination as well as its postindependence struggle with itself and the fate of revolutionary ideals in a post-revolutionary society also attracted numerous readers. This means that the aesthetic distance (in these two aspects) is bridgeable and explains the popularity of the Trilogy.


A Model for Applying Jauss Reception Theory

It is worth mentioning here the seductive nature of the titles: Memory in the Flesh, Chaos of the Senses and Passer by a Bed: all these titles have sexual suggestions that may attract the consumers to buy and read these books. Mustaghnams innovation is basically in metafiction/ metawriting.22 This style may impede the identification of the reader with the hero and lessen the excitement of reading by disrupting the smooth sequence of events. This is true especially when the writer frequently digresses into a theoretical contemplation of the theme of writing and analysis of a story within the story. Some readers may feel bored and lose their ability to attend to the writers style which is crucial for the artistic enjoyment and mental delight of the attentive reader. Many impatient readers ignored the metafiction/metawriting in favor of the beautiful and romantic statements in Mustaghnams Trilogy. Taking into consideration Mustaghnams innovative style that was strange for many of the Arab readers (in the late 1990s) we can infer that the aesthetic distance between the work of Mustaghnam and the readers was large in this metafictional dimension.

22. The clarification of metafiction as a technique in Mustaghnams novels

will be discussed in another article.


Clara Srouji-Shajrawi

The first generation of readers received Memory in the Flesh ambivalently; though they liked and admired it they doubted that an Arab woman could write in such a beautiful and profound style. Yet rumors may serve as a positive catalyst for readers who usually enjoy them and are curious to know more about the things that are surrounded with doubts. The aesthetic distance between the novel and the readers is short concerning the sensual and emotional level presented by the relationship between the man and the woman. Moreover, at the political level, or the story of the homeland, Algiers, this distance is bridgeable. Love and socio-politics are merged together in a distinguished poetic language. However, the theoretical analytical level, presented by the relationship between the narrator and the process of writing a novel (metafiction), was not familiar to the Arab readers in the 1990s and, therefore, it affected them negatively. Nevertheless, Mustaghnams Trilogy created a new turn in the history of Arabic literature, which may be adopted and imitated by later writers. Sometimes the public will enthusiastically acclaim a literary work before the academic critics do. But the popularity of a literary product does not always negate/contradict its high


A Model for Applying Jauss Reception Theory

artistic/aesthetic value, and may sometimes indicate that such literary work deserves to be included in the canon. Intra-literary criteria have greater influence on the readers than do extra-literary criteria. Intra-literary criteria determine the aesthetic taste of the community of readers within a given place and time. The readers judge a literary work after reading it, though they may be initially influenced by the title of a book, an impressive cover and written accompanying comments. Reception Theory and the proposed model of its application can be generalized to the literary criticism of any work of art whether it be in the field of drama, music or painting.


Clara Srouji-Shajrawi

.2 )1121( . . : . .1 " )1113( . " 23 . .

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http://www.khayyat.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid =337&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0&POSTNUKESID=e02747b5e3c9ac0a99b 82686ce868bef

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.4 )6006( . .5 . : . .9 " )1114( . () " "" Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, 24, 166-181. 135 .21 " .)1111( . " http://www.ahewar.org/debat/show.art.asp?aid=3071 .12319 .22 " . " 62 .8991 " ._________ .86 " 62 .6001
13. Bmia, da A. Dhakirat al-jasad (The Bodys Memory): A new

outlook on old themes. Research in African Literature, 28 (3) (Fall 1997), pp. 85-94.
14. Ghazoul, Ferial J. Memory and Desire. Al-Ahram Weekly On-line

409 (24-30 December 1998). Available at ;http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/1998/409/cu2.htm


A Model for Applying Jauss Reception Theory

15. Hohendahl, Peter Uwe. Autonomy of Art: Looking Back at Adornos sthetische Theorie. The German Quarterly, Vol. 54, No. 2 (March 1981), pp. 133-148. 16. Holt, Elizabeth M. In a Language That Was Not His Own: On Alm Mustaghnams Dhkirat al-jasad and Its French Translation Mmoires de la chair. Journal of Arabic Literature 28 (2008), pp. 123-140. 17. Holub, Robert C. Reception Theory: A Critical Introduction. London, New York: Methuen & Co. Ltd, 1984. 18. Jauss, Hans Robert. Levels of Identification of Hero and Audience. New Literary History 2 (Winter 1974). Pp. 283-317. 19. ______. Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory. In: Timothy Bahti (trans.). Toward an Aesthetic of Reception. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982. Pp. 3-45. 20. ______.The Poetic Text within the Change of Horizons of Reading: The Example of Baudelaires Spleen II. In: Timothy Bahti (trans.). Toward an Aesthetic of Reception. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982. Pp. 139-185. 21. ______. Aesthetic Experience and Literary Hermeneutics. Trans. Michael Shaw. Introduction by Wlad Godzich. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982. 22. ______. Jobs questions and answers from afar (Goethe, Nietzsche, Heidegger). In: Michael Hays (ed. & trans.). Question and Answer: Forms of Dialogic Understanding. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989. Pp. 105-118. 23. ______. The Identity of the Poetic Text in the Changing Horizon of Understanding. In: James L. Machor and Philip Goldstein (eds.). Reception Study. New York, London: Routledge, 2001. Pp. 7-28. 24. Jensen, Kim. A Literature Born from Wounds: Alm Mustaghnams `Memory in the Flesh`. Aljadid 8-39 (Spring 2002). Available at http://leb.net/~aljadid/reviews/0839jensen.htm 25. Katib, Hakim. Alm Mustaghnam: Assia Djebbar nest pas reprsentative de la socit algrienne. Forum Algerie. Available at http://www.algerie-dz.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19760 26. Lane, Jeremy. Reception Theory and Reader-Response (1): Hans Robert Jauss, Wolfgang Iser and the School of Konstanz. The Continuum Encyclopedia of Modern Criticism and Theory. Julian Wolfreys (ed.). New York, London: The Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006, pp. 280-287.


Clara Srouji-Shajrawi
27. McDougall, James. Social Memories in the Flesh: War and Exile in Algerian Self-Writing. Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics 30 (2010), pp. 34-56. 28. McLarney, Ellen. Unlocking the Female in Alm Mustaghnam. Journal of Arabic Literature 33 (1), pp. 24-44. 29. Stampfl, Tanja. The (im)possibility of Telling: of Algeria and Memory in the Flesh. College literature 37 (1) (Winter 2010), pp. 129-158. 30. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Culture and Value. G.H. von Wright (ed.). Peter Winch (trans.). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006. Interview with Mustaghnam on the Tunisian Radio. Available at: http://www.ameurbouazza.com/radio-monastir/safar-radio-monastir.php; Prizes given to Mustaghnam: http://www.syrianstory.com/ahlame.htm



Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries

Nazih Kassis
This study deals with the historical stages of Russian Arabic contact and the cultural, political, commercial, and religious bridges and channels through which the two languages have interacted since the seventh century, directly and indirectly through Oriental, Slavic and European languages. It also deals with the treatment of dictionaries of this contact and examines various etymological dictionaries in Russian, Arabic, English and German. The study reaches the conclusion that research in this lexicological aspect has been insufficient so far and lexicographers and lexicologists are invited to explore this exciting field of study. I. Russian Contact With Oriental Languages Russian Arabic contact has been going on for more than a thousand years through the East and the West, directly and indirectly. In the East or the Orient, it has taken place through Eastern Slavic contact with Oriental languages, mainly Iranian and Turkic, which started in the seventh century BC and


Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries

continued till the 8th century AD. The contact with Arabic intensified with the spread of Islam in the seventh century into Iraq, Iran, India, and to the north into Kazakhstan, Uzbeckstan, and Khyrgyzstan. According to Terence A number of words, manly of religious nature, entered Common Slavic from Iranian languages c. 700 BC to c. 200 AD, perhaps as the result of links with Scythians and other semi-nomadic pastoralists in the southern steppes. For example, the words ( = GOD), = PEACE, and = PARADISE come from Persian 1 , a language that extremely influenced Arabic as well. In the West, Russian Arabic contact took place indirectly through Western Slavic languages or Latin languages from the beginning of the 10th century, when Christianity was adopted in Russia in 988 AD. This contact increased through pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and through trade, translations, and cultural relations with the Western countries till the 19th century, and became intensive in the 20th century during the Soviet period through political, economic, industrial and military relations between Russia and the Arab countries.

1 Terence, Wade. (1996). Russian Etymological Dictionary. Bristol Classical Press. P. 6.


Nazih Kassis

1. The Kievan Period (9th 11th) Centuries2 A. Arab Travelers and Geographers.
Ahmad Ibn Fadlans Trip to Russia and Scandinavia The earliest recorded direct contact between Russian and Arabic took place in the 10th century when the Arab messenger/ traveler/geographer Ahmad Ibn Fadlan 3 was sent by Caliph al-Muqtadir Billah (895 932 AD) on a journey to meet the King of Bulgars (Saqaliba / Slavs) in 921-924 AD. The purpose of his mission was to collect information about the lands and people of the areas and acquaint the king with the new Religion, Islam, and if possible, to persuade him to convert to the new religion. Ibn Fadlan wrote a treatise called Risalat Ibn Fadlan describing his journey through the lands of the

For the division of the periods of development of Russian language, I depend on the article History of the English language in Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia , Online; and The History of the Russian Literary Language from the Seventeenth Century to the Nineteenth, by Vinogradov, with an introduction by Lawrence Thomas. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison, Milwaukee, and London, 1969. Ibn Fadlan, Ahmad is an Arab geographer and traveler who was sent by the Abbassid Caliph in Bghdad al-Muqtadir to the lands of the Saqaliba (Slavs) in the 10 th century (921 924). He wrote a description of his visits to the lands of the Turks, the Khazar, Saqaliba, Russia and Scandinavia in a manuscript that was found in Mshhad /Tous in Iran in 1924 and published in 1959 in Damascus, and translated into German in 1939 and into English by Michael Crichton in 1984/88. It was recompiled, edited and translated by Haidar Muhammad Ghayba in 1996 and published by al-Sharika alAlamiyya Lil-Kitab. Beirut, Lebanon.


Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries

Turks, Khazar, Slavs, Russians, and Scandinavians and many tribes along the Volga. The first Russian words that entered Arabic were Rus and Russia. According to Crichtons Eaters of the Dead
5 4


Ghayba, Ibn Fadlan used the word Russia upon the real people whom he met in the present Russian lands, but the word (Rus )or (Russia )is the name of the first Scandinavian tribe that he first met.

Crichton, Michael. (1988). Eaters of the Dead: With an Introduction and Running Commentary Read by Michael Crichton. Mass Market. It was recorded on a videocassette by Random House, 1998. Ghayba, Muhammad Haidar (ed.), Risalat Ibn Fadlan al-Sharika al-Alamiyya LilKitab, 1996. P. 75, Note 2.


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B. Russian Travelers and Pilgrims

St Varlaan (11th century)
Pilgrimages by Russian bishops and travelers constituted another bridge of contact between Russian and Arabic. The interest of Russian travelers and pilgrims in the Arab countries, mainly in Palestine being the Holy Land, started in the 10th century after Christianity was adopted by Russia in 988 AD. According to W. Wilson6 there is a mention of pilgrimages to Palestine in the biography of St Theodosius at the beginning of 1022. St Varlaam, a monk of Kiev, was the first to visit the Holy Land of Palestine in 1062. Palestine then was under Islamic Arab rule.

Abbott Daniel (12th century)

The second recorded visit to the Holy Land of Palestine was made by Russian Abbott Daniel in (1106 1107). During his stay for 16 months, Abbott Daniel wrote a detailed description of 97 sites which are located in Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon, especially those that have some connection to the life of Jesus

Wilson, C.W. (1988). The Pilgrimage of the Russian Abbot Daniel in the Holy Land 1106-1107 A.D. London.


Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries

Christ and Virgin Mary. Abbot Daniel visited the Galilee and stayed in Nazareth, where he mixed with Arabic speakers. Abbott Daniels description7 includes several Arabic words:



NASIRA al-NASIRA = Nazareth) ( El-HEIDEMIEH GHENNA al-SAHIRA SABA ELIAS BEISAN BEIT SAIDA al-ADHAMEYYIH=Edhems Grave JANNA ( = )Paradise al-SAHIRA ( (A Jerusalem Gate SABA ( (Name of Saint ELIAS ) ( Name of Prophet BISAN ( ) Name of a city BEIT AL-SAYIDA ) ( Name of a town


Abbott Daniels description of his pilgrimage to Palestine was translated into German and French and was edited by Norov and published in St Petersburg in 1863. For more information, see the Introduction in Wilson (1988) and the Introduction of Wasf al-Ard al-Muqaddasa fi Falastin 110-1107 by, al-Haj al-Rusi Daniel al-Rahib. Translated into Arabic and with a comment by Said al-Bishawi, and Ismael Abu Hadiyyeh. Amman, Jordan. Dar al-Shuruq Li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzi. 2003.


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Other pilgrims visited the Holy Land and described it, such as Archimandrite Agrafini who visited Palestine in 1370 and described the Arab peasants, their traditions and life; Vasilii (1465-1466), who visited Gaza and Jerusalem; Varsnuvii (14611462), who visited Palestine, Egypt and Sinai; and Vasilii Bozniakon in 1858, who visited Palestine too. 8

2. The Mogul Domination from 1273 - 1480

The period of the Mogul invasions into Russia constitutes another stage of Russian Arabic interaction. The Mogul occupation brought a substantial increase in Oriental loanwords dealing with administration, finance, and communication.9 The Moguls ran their Empire through Turkic, which contacted and interacted with Iranian and Arabic. A number of (Turkic/ Persian/ Arabic) loans entered Russian from various fields, e.g.

Mahamid, Omar. (1993). Falastin fi Adab al-Rahhala al-Rus, al-Markiz al-Arabi Li al-Dirasat al-Rusiyya. Um al-Fahim. PP. 40-48. Huttle-Worth, Gerta. (1963). Foreign Words in Russian: A Historical Sketch, 15501880. University of California Publications in Linguistics. Volume xxviii. P. 1.


Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries




Irek Bikkinin 10 also gives examples of a number of words arguing that they are Turkic that were borrowed by Russian through Arabic. These words in fact are Arabic but they were borrowed by Russian either directly or through European languages. The following examples exist in Turkic, Arabic and Russian:


Bikkinin, Irek. Turkic Borrowings in English in http//www.ece.lsu.edu/kak/ary2pdf.


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The Mogul army was defeated in 1380 but their domination continued till 1480.


Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries

3. The Moscovite Period (15th17th) Centuries

In the 15th century, Turkey ruled the whole of the Middle East and most of the Arab countries. The Ottoman Empire allowed Russia to have a representative of the Patriarchate in Palestine. Bishops, Orientalists, authors, poets continued visiting Palestine between 14th and 19th century. Among these are: Monk Varsnovski in 1456, and Vasili Parski in 1465-1466. 11

4. The Russian Empire Period (18th19th) Century

A. Orientalism and Russian Arabic Cultural Contacts The movement of Orientalism in Russia and the strong interest in Arabic studies among scholars and travelers contributed to the immediate interaction between Russian and Arabic, which increased through translations, trade, travels, pilgrimages, and missionary activity. During the rule of Peter the Great (16821725) Russian oriental studies gained support. Blair (16941738) was the pioneer. Similarly, Arab interest in Russian studies and culture increased during the 18th century onward. Orientalism constituted a major channel of Russian Arabic interaction.

Mahamid, Omar. (2001). Kalthoum Odeh: From Nazareth to St. Petersburg. Dar alHuda. The author gives a detailed description of the cultural relationships between Russian and Arab scholars, writers and poets and their effect on the Russian and Arab literature. See pages 1-16.


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B. Russian Authors and Poets

Russian authors and poets showed great interest in the Arab culture, especially in the Holy Land. Nikolai Gogol (18091852) visited Palestine in 1848 and visited Nazareth and Beirut. Lermontov (1814-1841) wrote his poem Olive Branch of Palestine inspired by the branch brought by his friend Moraviev who brought it from Palestine. Poet and critic Peter Viazamski visited Palestine in 1849-1850 and stayed in Jaffa and Jerusalem. Afram Norov (1795-1869) visited Palestine and Egypt in 1835 and wrote a book about the two countries 12 . Anglis Sofrin, a Russian journalist, also visited Palestine in 1889 and wrote a book titled Palestine where many Arabic words and village names are mentioned.13 In 1917, poet Ivan Bunin (1870-1953) visited the Middle East and even wrote a poem called Chased Muhammad 14 The writings of many authors include Arabic words and their books constitute another channel of contact and interaction.

12 13

Mahamid, Omar. (1993). P. 52-96. Mahamid, Omar. (2004). Dirasat fi al-Hadhara al-Arabiyya al-Islamiyaa wal Istishraaq, Bet Berl. P. 55. See Mahamid, Omar. (2004). P. 97-98. about Bunins Complete Works (1956). Moscow, 1956. P. 365-366.



Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries

C. The Russian Missionary Activity

The Russian missionary activity in Palestine contributed to the creation of strong relationship between Russian speakers and Arabic speakers. In 1853, the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate established the missionary Russian Palestinian Association in Jerusalem. Bishop Porfirri Uspenskii, the first head of the Association (1843-1854), was among the first Russian researchers in the Christian Arab culture. He visited Palestine in 1843, and also brought many manuscripts to the library of St Petersburg.15 Among the Associations well-known Arabists was Mednikov, who wrote a book titled Palestine since the Arab Conquest till the Crusade Wars in the Arab Sources (1898) and participated in determining the teaching curriculum in the Committees Russian schools in Palestine and Syria. In 1883, he published a bibliography of everything that was written about Palestine16 In this way, the missionary activity created an atmosphere that made this language contact feasible.


Mahamid, Omar. (1988). Safahat min Tarikh Madaris al-Jamiyya al-Rusiyya-alFalastiniyya fi Falastin between 1882-1914. Markiz Ihyaa al-Turath al-Arabi. Taibeh., P. 32. Mahamid, (1993). P. 103.



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D. Teaching Arabic in Russia

As a result of the continued relations and the widening and spreading activity of the Russian missionaries, there was a need to learn and teach Arabic in both Palestine and Russia. Arab and Russian scholars cooperated to achieve this goal. Ignatius Kratchkovski (1883-1951), the neo-establisher of Arabic at St Petersburg University, visited Palestine in 1890 and Beirut in 1908 1910. He met the Palestinian writers, Sakakini, poet Nashashibi, and Kalthoum Odeh (1892-1965)17, who married Ivan Vasiliev, a Russian doctor at the Girls School in Bet Jala. She left with him to Russia and became a well-known teacher and lecturer in Arabic language at the University of St Petersburg. Kratchkovski is also considered a neo-founder of Russian oriental studies. He entered Arabic literature into Soviet schools and was in charge of Arabic at the Soviet Universities. Kratchkovski also translated a large number of classical and modern literary works and also had intensive correspondence with Arab scholars, poets and authors, which increased the bidirectional contact between Russian and Arabic. 18

For a detailed description of Kalthoum Odehs life and works, See Mahamid , Omar. (2001), P. 1-52. Mahamid, Omar. (1988), P. 47.



Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries

Khalil Baidas (1875-1949), one of the well-known authors and founders of modern Palestinian literature, graduated from the Russian Seminar in Nazareth and became the Director of Russian schools in Syria and Palestine. Baidas also translated Russian novels written by Tolstoy, Checkov, Dostoevsky, Gorki, Lermontov, and Pushkin. Other authors who studied Russian at Russian schools are Iskandar al-Khouri al-Betjali, (1900-1973), Bandali al-Jowzi (1871-1944), who married a Russian, and the well-known Lebanese poets Amin al-Rihani (1876-1940) and Mikhael Naimi (1890-1902). 19 The Arab scholars who lived and taught in Russia also contributed to the language contacts. The ones who played a major role include the Egyptian Muhammad al-Tantawi (18101861), who taught Arabic language and literature at St Petersburg, the Syrian Murqus (1964 -1911), the Lebanese Qalzi (1819-1912), Fadlallah Sarrouf (1826-1903) and Ataya (1852-1924), and the Palestinian Kalthoum Odeh Vasilieva (1865 -1892). 20

19 20

Ibid., P. 91, 108, 123, 133, 149. Mahamid, Omar. (2004) Vol. 1. P. 85-86.


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II. ARABIC BORROWINGS FROM RUSSIAN IN THE SOVIET PERIOD (1917-1990) In the 20th century, Russian Arabic Contact was reinforced and enhanced by political changes in both Russia and the Arab World. After the Second World War, the relationship between the Soviet Union and the Arab countries strengthened in all fields. Just as Russian has borrowed Arabic words through European languages from the 15th century onwards, Arabic has also borrowed Russian words through European countries through various means of mass media . Here is a short list of Russian words that are commonly used in Arabic mass media. The words have been collected from al-Ittihad Arabic Newspaper, which has been published in Haifa since 1944.21


Itiihad Newspaper. Published in Haifa, since 1994. Issues examined: 19501990.


Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries

Besides the above words, Russian names of people have become a common and acceptable phenomenon. Many Arabic speakers have married Russians and they give their children Russian names like: Yuri, Leoned, Irina, Olga , Natasha , Natalie , Elena , Valentina , Gloria , Katya , Yulia and Marina .



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III. THE TREATMENT OF RUSSIAN-ARABIC-CONTACT IN DICTIONARIES 1. Russisches etymologisches Worterbuch, by Max Vasmer (1953-1958).22 This is a three-volume German dictionary that deals with the etymology of Russian words. Vasmer gives a number of Russian words from Oriental languages without distinguishing between Turkic, Persian and Arabic. The following are Arabic words, which Vasmer considers as Oriental, and to which I added the Arabic equivalents:


Vasmer, Max. Russisches etymologisches Worterbuch. Vols. I-III. Heidelberg, 1953-1958.


Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries





References to these words are found in Ilinskijs translation of Dmitry Kantemirs treatise on the Mohammedan religion.23


See Huttle-Worth, Gerta (1963), P. 28.


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2. Gharaib al-Lugha al-Arabiyya / Oddities of Arabic, by al-Yasooi, Nakhleh Rafael, 196024

This is the earliest and probably the only Arabic book (known to me) that deals with Russian borrowings from Arabic. However, it does not discuss the channels of such borrowing and does not point out the etymology of the borrowed words. The book gives 130 Russian words that come from Arabic. AlYasooi, gives the words as they are pronounced in Russian but in English transliteration. Here is a partial list of words given by al-Yasooi, to which I added the Russian transcription and Arabic equivalents and transliteration:




Al-Yasooi, Raphael Nakhleh, (1960). Gharaib al-Lugha al-Arabiyya. Al-Matbaa al-Katholikiyya. Beirut. P. 132-140


Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries




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3. Foreign Words in Russian: A Historical Sketch, 1550-1880, by Gerta Huttle-Worth, 1963. 25

This is an English-English dictionary that deals with the historical development of Russian and traces the etymological development of Russian borrowed words. Surprisingly, Gerta Huttle-Worth classifies the Arabic, Persian and Turkic words as Oriental without making any distinctions. Even the words Mohammad, Islam, Koran, Ramadan are Oriental words according to her criteria. Probably, she does not specify that they are Arabic because of her ignorance of the language or like Vasmer, she uses the word Oriental as a super-ordinate term to refer to Arabic. Gerta traces the sources of the words and refers the reader to them. Here is a partial list of the words she gives in Russian and English, to which I added the Arabic equivalents. Most of the


Huttle-Worth, Gerta. (1963). Historical Sketch, 1550-1880. University of California Publications in Linguistics, Volume, xxviii.


Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries

words are Arabic in origin. Russian has borrowed some of them directly, and others through European languages.





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4. Sharb atov Qamus Russi Arabi Madrasi, by

Gregory Sharbtov (1964). 26

This is the earliest Russian Arabic learners dictionary (known to me) that refers to Russian contact with Arabic and borrowing from it. In the introduction, Sharbatov gives the following words with their Arabic equivalents, but he gives no etymological information:





- / QAMUS RUSI ARABI MADRASI, BY Gregory Sharbatov. Published by Soviet Encyclopedia, 1964.


Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries

5. Russian Etymological Dictionary, by Terence Wade (1996). 27

This English dictionary gives an illuminating introduction about the evolution and development of Russian and all its branches. Regarding Russian borrowing from Arabic, he says that Arabic words, which had already been borrowed by European languages such as Latin, Spanish, Italian, French, German and English, entered Russian indirectly. Terences dictionary describes the routes through which the following words found their way into Russian.




Wade, Terence (1996). Russian Etymological Dictionary. By Terence Wade. Bristol Classical Press.


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Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries

6. Pocket Oxford Russian Dictionary: Russian-Englisn/ English-Russian, by Jessie Coulson, Nigel Rankin and Della Thompson, (2000). 28 The following items have been compiled from three English Arabic etymological dictionaries: Cannon,29 Salloum,30 and alBasha. 31 They confirm that the words are originally Arabic borrowed by English. I tested if they also exist as Russian words in Oxford Russian Dictionary (2000). To my surprise, I found out that they are also given as Russian words. However, since the dictionary is a general purpose dictionary, it does give


Pocket Oxford Russian Dictionary, (2000). Second Edition. RussianEnglish, Compiled by Jessie Coulson. English Russian, Compiled by Nigel Ranking and Della Thompson. Oxford University Press.


Cannon, Garland and Kaye, S. (1994). The Arabic Contributions to the English Language: an Historical Dictionary.Published by: Wiesbadden: Harrassovitz Verlag.


Salloum, Habib and Peters, James. (1994). Arabic Contributions to the English Language. English Words of Arabic Origin: Etymology and History. Libraire du Liban Publishers.


al-Basha, Iffat. Mujam al-Alfaz al-Ingliziyya min Asl Arabi, (2000), Beirut. Lebanon.


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not etymological explanations.32 Here is a list of samples with the Arabic equivalents:





For more information about Russian borrowing from European languages, see: The Russian Language since the Revolution by Bernard Comrie and Gerald Stone. Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1978; and The Russian Language in the Twentieth Century, by Bernard Comrie, Gerald Stone and Maria Polinsky. Oxford. Clarendon Press, 1996.


Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries




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This brief study shows that Russian and Arabic have been in contact for more than a thousand years now. This contact has taken place directly or indirectly through Oriental, or East and West Slavic, and through many European languages. This process started in the seventh century and has not stopped yet. Interaction between the two languages took place through various cultural, commercial, scientific, military, political, religious, and media channels. From the 15th century onward, this interaction intensified thanks to the movement of Orientalism and scientific development and relation between Europe and Russia and the Arab world. Scholars, poets, authors, and travelers came into contact with the Arab culture, language and literature. The missionary activity and religious associations also contributed to the bidirectional relations between the two languages. Translations of the Russian and Soviet literature brought the two languages closer to each other. Teaching Arabic in Russia and Russian in some Arab countries also made the two languages familiar despite the differences in orthography, pronunciation and grammatical structures. In the twentieth century, borrowing has reversed its direction, and Arabic started borrowing Russian terms and words from all


Russian Arabic Contact and its Treatment in Dictionaries

fields of life. Arabic speakers have Arabized the Russian words phonologically, and syntactically and adapted many words to the Arabic rules of grammar and word formation, especially by adding the definite article prefix al-. To sum up, despite its significance as a cultural phenomenon, this aspect has not been dealt with sufficiently over the centuries and only in the early fifties of the 20th century did lexicographers start dealing with the etymology of Russian. Despite the occasional references to Russian Arabic interaction, I dare say that this study is the first of its kind in this field. I hope more studies will follow.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

Khaled al-Khalediy
Instructing the Learner: Methods of Learning was written by Az-Zarnooji (A-Z) mainly as a useful student handbook. It won wide popularity among scholars and study circles. The main methods it suggested was memorizing, debate and argument, and stressed self-motivation in learning as well as the ethical aspects of education. Among modern researchers it was considered one of the most important books in Arab Islamic culture. The small size of the book was a point in its favor. It was printed and reprinted many times and an English translation was published in 1947 and had an impact in many parts of the world on modern educational theories. Similarities can be seen between his educational methods and those of Ebbinghaus, especially the fact that the learner was placed at the center of the teaching-learning process.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

The book, Instructing the Learner: Methods of Learning, written by Burhan Ad-Din Az-Zarnooji 1203 CE, was so important to students and scholars of his time, that they studied, discussed and memorised what the book contained, especially the thoughts, guidance and instructional matter. The book was originally written for students and scholars. The author says frankly in his introduction that the book was written to be a useful student handbook. As A-Z explains, I wrote the book because I have found out that many students in our days strive to get the right education, but they cannot get it and they are debarred from its benefits and fruits, because they missed its way and left its requirements. He who misses the way gets lost and never gets to his destination; so I wanted and loved to show those students the way to get education, in accordance with what I found in books and learned from my masters and I called it Instructing the Learner: Methods of Learning (Ahmad, M.
1989, Introduction, p. 81)

The book is comparatively small in size the author a brief discussion of topics to avoid useless details. He maintains, The

Ahmad, M. Ta'alim al-Muta'allim (The Instruction of the Learner, Method of Learning), 1989, Introduction, p.81. Cairo :Maktabat an-Nahda (Arabic).


Khaled al-Khalediy

book quoted famous Ayat (verses) and reliable reports on the advantages and merits of learning, without the slightest attempt to deal with them so as not to lengthen the book (Ibid, p. 91)2 and it contains morals and studies, glorifying education, knowledge, and its followers. It also demonstrates the students strenuous work and devotion and shows the choice of material, the teacher, co-partner and the time to acquire learning. The readers knew the author only through his book, which was studied in many societies. Ahmad Muhammad Abd al-Qader said: I have seen the book being taught to the Quran Schools students in Guinea and the whole of the West African Region. So students and teachers memorise the book by heart (Ibid, pp.

. Thus, it seems that the readers in the Islamic Kingdom

knew a lot about the book, but very little about the author apart from his name, and the fact that he was taught by the highest Sheikh in the Hanafi Madhhab doctrine. The book won wide popularity among scholars and study circles because it was considered unique, containing all that was then known about learning and instructing, in an elegant style

2 3

Ibid, p. 91 Ibid, pp. 27-33.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

and an attractive presentation (Hajji, Khalifa, 1958b, p. 425)4. The importance of the book lies in its unique subject matter, since many works on Quranic studies had appeared: while the Hadith and fiqh (jurisprudence), Arabic and poetry were numerous from the first century till the age of A-Z in the sixth Hijri century, however, writing on Islamic education itself was rare. Therefore, this book was considered one of the most famous works of Islamic scholars on education, while some modern researchers consider it one of the most important books that have been written on Islamic education, (al-Ahwani, 1955, p.

The book is divided into thirteen sections or chapters: 1. On the nature and merit of knowledge and learning. 2. On the purpose of study. 3. On the choosing of the subject matter of learning, the teachers, ones fellow students and ones permanent affiliation. 4. On respecting knowledge and those who possess it.

Hajji, Khalifa, Kashf Az-Zunoon An Asma (Fi asami) al-Kutub WalFunoon (Removing Doubts From the Names of Books and Arts), Vol. 1, 1958b, p. 425. Baghdad: Al-Muthanna Library & London. al-Ahwani, The Detailed Pamphlet and the Rules of Teachers and Learners. Cairo: Dar al-Maarif 1955, p. 239.


Khaled al-Khalediy

5. On industriousness, perseverance and assiduity (in the pursuit of learning). 6. On the beginning of study, its amount and its organisation. 7. On placing ones faith in God (Tawakkul, reliance). 8. On the time for the acquisition of knowledge. 9. On helpfulness and good advice. 10. On the useful means to attain knowledge. 11. On abstinence from evil during the pursuit of learning. 12. What creates memory and what brings about forgetfulness. 13. Which things bring about and which prevent earning a livelihood, and which things augment or diminish the years of ones life (Ahmad, M. 1989)6. A-Zs views were greatly influenced by Islamic Education, the Quran and Sunna, for he frequently supported his views with sayings from al-Fuqaha (Jurists), As-Sunna (Tradition), and verses from the Quran. He saw that pursuing learning begins with the intention to learn, supporting his view with the Hadith: Deeds (works) are measured by their intentions (Ibid, p. 92)7. He placed the teacher at the top of the social ladder, considering his job to be prestigious and highly respected. Honouring
6 7

Ahmad, M. 1989, introduction. Ibid, p. 92.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

learning is by honouring the teacher. He also gave advice how to behave towards the teacher, saying: Do not walk in front of the teacher, sit in his place or speak without his permission. Do not talk too much in his presence unless permitted to do so by the teacher, minding the time. Do not knock at the door, but wait patiently until the teacher comes out; whenever you address the teacher, your statement must include a request for his pleasure, evading his anger; obey his orders except if it would mean disobeying God; respecting the teacher includes respecting his children and all those related to him (Ibid, p. 108). It is fitting with at-Tahtawi (1801-1873) who says: Teachers are the best of human kind who walk upon the earth (Ahmad, S.,
1993, p. 259)

He believed that the best method to learn was through memorising, debate, and argument, which should be carried out fairly and slowly, and with contemplation. A student should avoid trouble and anger, which can only bring harm to him because he loses his sense of reality and morals when he is angry. Furthermore, counselling is a good learning method, benefiting the learner and leading to correct conclusions.

Ahmad, S., Mokhtarat Min Tatawur al-Fikr at-Tarbawi, Cairo: Alam alKutub, 1993, p. 259.


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Debate and argument have greater benefit than repetition, on condition that the debate be with a just person who is of a healthy nature. A-Z also warns the learner not to argue with stubborn or dishonest people who might have a negative influence on him (Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 139)9. Although much of A-Zs pedagogic advice would not apply today, his book has retained its value. For example, it has been praised and highly evaluated by Muhyi ad-Din al-Qurashi alMasri in his book al-Jawahir al-Mudia, 1988, Vol. 1, p. 384 and Vol. 2, p. 36410 and by Abd al Hay al-Kindy al-Hindy in his book Tarajim al-Hanafiya, (Biographies of the Hanafis), p. 25)11. He says It is a valuable and useful book that includes chapters; small-sized but full of uses. In the book Kashf azZunoon (Vol. 3, p. 297)12 it is said: It is a very valuable book. Similar praise is given in Taj at-Tarajim, Idah al-Maknoon wa Hayat al Arefeen However, Yusuf Liyan Sarkis (1928) classifies it under Preaching (Mujam al-Matbouat alArabia) and Van Dyke puts it under Preaching and Sufism.
9 10

Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 139. Muhyi ad-Din al-Qurashi al-Masri, al-Jawahir al-Mudia,1988, Vol. 1, p. 384, Vol. 2, p. 364. Abd al Hay al-Kindy al-Hindy, Tarajim al-Hanafiya, (Biographies of the Hanafis,) p. 25 Cairo: Matbaat as-Saada. Hajji Khalifa, Kashf az-Zunoon, 1958, Vol. 3, p. 297.




Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

The reason for this classification is the sufi (mystic) paragraphs in the book and the relation between the literary aspect of learning and teaching by advice and preaching (see Iktifa al-Qanu
Bima Howa Matbu, p. 190 and A-Zs book, p. 82 in his quotation of AlHallaj and p. 87 and Yusuf al-Hamadani Sultan ash-Sharia wat-Tariqa and p. 93)

While the book is a product of its time, it demonstrates the common sense of its author, the purity of his scientific consciousness and the power of his awareness of what his society was exposed to. His defense of Islamic culture was reflected in his interest in building schools and establishing religious institutes, especially among the Ayyobis. The most famous example was Dar Al-Hadith and the Kameliyya College. He also favored free education, a system that Islamic culture borrowed from the Persians (Fahmi, 1947, pp. 18-2114; Hasan,
1949, pp. 422-423)

It is no wonder that at this period a book about learning and teaching appeared. A-Zs book was a natural production of the
13 14

Yusuf al-Hamadani Sultan ash-Sharia wat-Tariqa ,1978, p. 93. Fahmi, A. H. Usool at-Tarbiya al-Islamiyya (The Principles of Islamic Education). Cairo: Committee for Writing, Translation and Publishing, 1366H/1947AD, pp. 18-21. Hasan, Ali Ibrahim, Egypt in the Middle Ages, From the Arab Conquest to Ottoman Conquest. Cairo: an-Nahda al-Masriya 1949, pp. 422-423.



Khaled al-Khalediy

reaction of Islamic culture to the threat coming from outside and from within. It is an expression of the interest in finding answers to the questions about how to establish the origins (Quran and Sunna, Traditions) and guarantee their strength, how to understand their foundations, and what are the best conditions for learning and teaching them . So, the holy Quran and Sunna were the origin for A-Z as well as the guides, goal and means. The book is mainly an expression of the general approach of the culture towards al-Quran and Sunna at that time. The educational precepts are well constructed and logically exposed in short phrases, which were characteristic of A-Zs writings. He learned some of these skills from his sheikhs through dictation and some from previously established educational works, and he practised them until he became known by these skills and his educational thought. His cognitive achievement, which covers Islamic legal science, linguistic science, educational knowledge, and the mastery of the educational approach in his studies, represents a distinguished mind not only in terms of his own achievement but in terms of educational production as well. A-Zs comprehensive educational view on thought, body and morality contributes to the expansion of the concept of Islamic education, depending on how much it clarifies A-Zs


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

educational thought (See for example, Care of the Body, An-Nawawi in

the Majmou, p. 36,16 and al-Almawi in al-Muid, p.27)

. Add to all this

the existence of some brilliant educational notes which are most probably his own.

Other Aspects of the Book

If the ancient reference books and modern studies do not give satisfactory information about A-Zs scientific education and philosophical life, it is worthwhile looking into the book Talim al-Mutaallim to extract certain hints or references that might help to analyse his character (Hamdan et al., 1989, p. 213)18. It is not difficult to find these hints and references in any reliable edition of this small book of 100 pages, such as the edition of Hamdan and Al-Khaimi (1987). In addition, the structure of the book, embodying several disciplines within one educational framework, highlights a scientific educational truth. A-Zs attempts to use his knowledge of jurisprudence, language and philosophy in creating educational rules, had been preceded by other scholars who used the fruits of their intellectual abilities

An-Nawawi, M.(n.d.). Al-Majmou, Taaddud al-Muallimin (Diversity of Teachers) Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, (n.d.), p. 36. Almawi, A.B. Al-Muid Fi Adab Al-Mufid al-Mustafid. Damascus: Matba at at-Taraqqi, 1987, p. 27. Hamdan et al., 1989, p. 213.




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and thoughts to construct educational views. It can be argued that A-Z possessed two complementary abilities: a scientific ability that raised him to the degree of Sheikh of Islam; and a greater ability, his knowledge of several branches of sciences. He used this educational ability and his philosophy in his work on the other sciences, and he tried to point out the most important aspects of those sciences, in order to apply this philosophy in his intellectual and educational work. Most reference books agree that A-Z was the student of alImam al-Marghinani. By education he was a Hanafi (faqih) jurist scholar and theologian. However, he does not hesitate to use as evidence for his theories the words of Ash-Shafii, dividing learning/science into two categories. In his book, A-Z quotes the debate between Sheikh Ali al-Isbijabi (535 AH/1140

the Hanafi jurist, and Sheikh al-Islam of the Shafeis,

which continued for twelve years (Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 149) 19 . Although he relied on the Hanafi views, his method is considered a pioneering step towards liberality in objective research. Perhaps he became more liberal in his precedentsetting method, when he researched the doctrine of


Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 149.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

predestination (Ibid, pp. 137, 142, 143, 162)20. However, his method is neither thoroughly non-derivative nor complete in its theological doctrine (Hamdan et al., 1989, p. 214)21.

Theological and Scientific Aspects

Since education is a branch of the Islamic sciences, it is only natural that A-Z, as an educator and jurist scholar (faqih), should express his opinion on it from a legal point of view (Ibid,
p. 215)

. Thus, A-Z gives indirect instructions that encourage

the reader to acquire more and more education, and to choose the best education possible. This clarifies the connection between his legal judgement and the educational rules he has set. A-Z believes that acquiring knowledge and education is affected by four rules that concern individual duty, collective duty, what is unlawful to study and what is lawful. Individual duty (Fard al-ayn) refers to what every Muslim has to know, including: a. The condition of the individual and his work b. Studying science with caution

20 21

Ibid, pp. 137, 142, 143, 162. Hamdan et al., Fi at-Turath at-Tarbawi (On the Educational Heritage). Damascus: Dar al-Mamoon lit-Turath, 1989, p. 214.

Ibid, p. 215.


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c. Learning (acquiring) the conditions of the heart d. Learning good manners. When he talks of moral or preaching matters in his research, AZ deals with them in the pure style of a theologian and jurist scholar (faqih) and in correct Arabic. Being a jurist (faqih) of the al-Hanafiya movement of his time, A-Z gives the general meaning of jurisprudence, al-fiqh by saying, jurisprudence means the knowledge of the minute details of the discipline with a certain kind of medicine (Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 91). A-Z goes on then to quote the concept of Abu-Hanifa,which is considered the oldest and most general one, jurisprudence (al-Fiqh) is the knowledge of the soul with its virtues and vices (Hamdan, et al.,
1989, p. 215)

. This is clear in the comprehensiveness of

jurisprudence (al-Fiqh) and the comprehensiveness of his works on ethics and education, since it combines the rules of what is unlawful and lawful in faith and worship with the tenets of the way people should be treated and the relations that should exist between them. On the other hand, he acquaints his reader with the exclusivity of jurisprudence (al-fiqh) to the practical rules, which were developed in the classification of sciences. These quotations by A-Z are signs to expand the concept of


Hamdan, et al., 1989, p. 215.


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jurisprudence (fiqh) to include all the facets of the soul, so that Islamic education can achieve its intellectual, practical and behavioural fruits (Ibid, p. 216)24. The connection between theology and education is clear, and he expresses the basic tenets of faith in his book. He rejects the influence of stars on the fate of man, animal and the universe at large and explains his rejection by saying that escaping from Gods predestination is impossible. With regard to prayers and faith in the salvation of human beings from calamities, and Gods help in overcoming hardships, he says that: He asks God for forgiveness and health in this world and in the afterworld so that God keeps him from calamities and diseases, and God makes it possible for him and gives him patience through the blessings of his call/prayers (Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 112)25. On the question of belief, disbelief and going astray, A-Z says: The people who stray admire their own opinions and thoughts, and ask of the mind, which is unable to realise everything, like the sighted ones who cannot see everything, to show them the right way; and thus they (the straying ones) could not see,

24 25

Ibid,1989, p. 216. Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 912.


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became helpless, went astray and misled others. Then he brings a Hadith, of unknown reference, stating The unmindful one is the one who acts on his unmindfulness, and the wise one acts on his wisdom (Ibid, p. 144)26.

The Ethical Aspect

If ethical literature is an important pillar in Islamic education in general, and for A-Z in particular, it is presented here as preaching the right guidance and the direction of the work, devoid of any blemish of personal or social reputation. Though this is a field which is based on specialised knowledge of the book of God and the Sunna of his Messenger, and proficiency in the methods of instruction and guidance and knowledge of reformative social and psychological studies, it is far from being scientific teaching material. Rather, it has become known, as all forms of knowledge in the age of A-Z, as Ethics, which he referred to in his book: A-Z displays a special interest in the intention of pursuing learning and working and divorcing oneself from the vagaries of luck, and from the aim or intention of making money, so that the desire to be educated is the foremost desire. He therefore


Ibid, p. 144.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

mentions several virtuous illustrations of this desire that are considered closer to the ideals of Islamic education.. This desire for education for its own sake is not only the foundation of Islamic education, distinguishing it from other types of education, but also the basis upon which stands the idea of reward and rightness of the scientific future (Hamdan et al.,
1989, p. 220)

. Some of the images presented are Gods approval,

the afterworld, removing ones own ignorance and ignorance of others, rebirth of religion, and preserving Islam. By benefiting from education A-Z does not mean peoples taking interest in it, nor obtaining the transient things of this world, nor getting the respect of the Sultan and others (Ahmad, M. pp. 92-93)28. There are numerous topics of literature, preaching and ethics in the book. Although the book concerns only the learner and the method of learning, A-Z provides each educational or scientific theory with its literature and ethics, and by doing so, he removes himself from the doctrinal method which is limited to practical rules, giving only its message and lesson. However, by using this educational method, he not only mixes education and ethics as a science but also draws attention to the purpose of
27 28

Hamdan et al., 1989, p. 220. Ahmad, M. 1989, pp. 92-93.


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education in building mans intellectual, ethical and physical structure. Whole chapters of the book are devoted to dealing with vices and manners, such as trust in God and piety, as well as paragraphs in other chapters that show A-Zs practical educational interests. Besides other virtues and vices such as asceticism, contentment, supplication and piety, A-Z is particularly interested in the decency of learning and the virtue of the learner, which is decency in soul and thought, and in qualities that lead to success in the educational teaching process. Meditation and patience, continuous achievement and varied educational sources, respect for the teacher, appreciation of the learned material, the development of the spirit of ambition and questioning, devotion to study and other qualities are all virtues that the learner cannot do without.

The Educational Aspect

This is the most important and comprehensive dimension of AZs book. Two facts should be considered before elaborating on the educational aspect. First, the subject of heritage is interwoven with Islamic science and is considered as an intellectual scientific source for work and behaviour. There was no separation between education, theology, literature, sciences and ethics among the scholars of that time. Though these


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

intermingle and interact, they are stable supports of education. Second, A-Zs book specialises in education and teaching. He exhibited its educational values by philosophical references and justifications, theological canons, and clear references to the disciplines of scholastic theology and ethics. The exposition is always supported by evidence and examples. Particular knowledge and general knowledge, including theoretical and empirical sciences, occupy a large space in the educators education from which he can benefit to an unlimited extent. If the learner exploits these types of knowledge, they will contribute to the improvement of the educational process and broaden the teachers and the students intellectual and practical horizons. A person who has these sciences, besides his social knowledge and experience of contemporary conditions and living, is entitled to play an active role in intellectual education. The process of teaching and learning achieves deeper and wider success, depending on the depth of these types of knowledge and arts, and how well they are established in the thoughts of the educator. Education is a science that has its own rules, values, methods of achievement, method of teaching and structure. It is also an art of good taste, which can be influenced by individual views that offer the necessary flexibility through discretion or conduct,


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enabling the educator to achieve creative educational aims. While it depends on the quality of knowledge and good taste, it is also deeply related to thought and feeling in both directions: give and take. As mentioned before, A-Z was a Hanafi doctrinal jurist who frequently quoted his evidence from the scholars of the doctrine and considered them a model from whose experience the learner should benefit and whose example he should follow, though A-Z did not refuse directly imitating others. Though his knowledge appears in a doctrinal formula, it implies his cognitive achievement, which is characterised by jurist impression in form and style. However, he does not insist on doctrinisation and he does not push the learner to a limited specialised knowledge, except for what he refers to as learning jurisprudence (fiqh) in its general and specific concept. No education can grow in an intellectual or doctrinal vacuum. It depends on its philosophy, whether materialistic or spiritual, local or universal, religious or secular. Islamic heritage in general, and A-Zs in particular, is built upon Islamic religious values, derived from the origins of Islam in the Quran and Sunna, and also upon the suffering of scholars and their students in the past and present.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

The Al-Hanafiya, Madhab, doctrine, which is calling the students to show gradation in selecting disciplines for the beginner, starting from the simple things, did not divert A-Zs attention from broad educational thinking and did not prevent him from addressing students who belonged to various doctrines, using general instructional methods which would enrich and increase their achievements. If philosophy generally deals with the secrets of knowledge and its objective is concerned with their purposes, the philosophy of education is concerned with the achievement of the objectives of educational and religious knowledge; and theoretical sciences should be accompanied by application so that there will be no duality between the principle and the reality (Hamdan et al., 1989, p. 226)29. The objectives of education are explained in A-Zs book in two ways:


Hamdan et al., 1989, p. 226.


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Chapter 5 shows the qualities of the learner who is successful through diligence, persistence and determination.

Chapter 10 is about acquiring the means of study, which are useful for the attainment of knowledge.

Chapter 8 deals with the time for the acquisition of knowledge.

A-Z does not devote a separate chapter to practical commitment but it is clear in most of the chapters from the introduction till chapter thirteen, the last one, that practical work is important.

Chapter6 covers study, its extent and organisation(the priorities, their values and order)

Chapter 3 sets out the type of subject matter to be learned, the teacher and study companion.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

A. Objectives of achievement B. Practical and behavioural objectives

A. Objectives of achievement: From his educational point of view, there must be correct rules for learning so that it achieves the expected result. A-Z says, I have observed many learners of our time making a lot of effort to learn, but not achieving their goal, and debarred from the uses and benefits of learning, because they were missed the proper methods of learnung and did not commit to its correct ways, I sought and desired to show them the right way to study
(Ahmad, M. 1989, Introduction, p. 81).

Diligence and persistence in

learning are useless if not applied correctly in an educational method. Four chapters deal with the achievement objectives - Chapter 3 deals with choosing the type of subject matter to be learned, the teacher and the study companion. Chapter 5 shows the qualities of the successful learner which include diligence, persistence, determination and assiduity. Chapter 6 deals with the beginning of study, its amount and organisation (the priorities, their values and order); Chapter 8 deals with the time for acquisition of knowledge; and Chapter 10 deals with getting the means which


Khaled al-Khalediy

are useful to the attainment of knowledge (Ahmad, M. 1989, pp.


and The Syllabus of the Learner by Al-Ghazali).

B. Practical and behavioural objectives: Hadiths on accompaniment of work with learning are revealed in the two books, the two Sahihs and the Sunnas, and in the scholars interest in these subjects, for example, Ibn AbdulBarr (The Comprehensive Book of Learning and its Merit, Vol. 2, p. 2)31 and after Al-Muniriya (1389 AH/1978 AD) and AlGhazali (in Al-Ihya) and Al-Mawardi (Literature of Life and Religion, 1398 AH/1978 AD, pp. 84, 86)32 and An-Nawawi (in Al-Majmou, pp. 28, 29) 33 and Ibn-Jamaa (The Listeners Memorandum, pp. 67-70)34. Although A-Z does not devote a separate chapter to practical commitment, as he does to the achievement objective, his emphasis on the behavioural

30 31

Ahmad, M. 1989, pp. 161-163. Ibn Abd Al-Barr, Al-Qurtubi, Y. Jame Bayan al-Ilm Wa Fadleh (The Comprehensive Book Of Learning And Its Merit)), Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1994, Vol. 2, p. 2. Al-Mawardi, Literature of Life and Religion, 1398 AH/1978 AD, pp. 84, 86. An-Nawawi, in Al-Majmou, pp. 28, 29. Ibn Jamaa al-Kinani, Badr ad-Din, Tadhkirat As-Sami Wal-Mutakallim Fi Adab Al-Alim Wal-Mutaallim (The Listeners Memorandum). Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyya,1354 AH , pp. 67-70.


33 34


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practical objective is clear in most of the chapters (Hamdan et al.,

1989, p. 227)

In Chapter Eleven, On Abstinence and the pursuit of Learning, A-Z enumerates hateful deeds that should be avoided. Some of these are: Talking too much about useless things, backbiting, sitting with the talkative, making friends with the corrupt, the wrongdoers, the inactive. One should also not neglect manners and religious laws (Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 165)36. On the other hand, good deeds that the learner should do are: Taking the opportunity of the call of good-doers. Increasing the prayer of the pious. He sees theoretical ideas and educational rules receiving their real value only through practical application in the doctrinal, educational and devotional fields. For example, A-Z stresses two principles in the devotional fields: 1. Educational rules depend on a religious basis, as religion depends on the Islamic origins of moral commitment, including educational commitment.

35 36

Hamdan et al., 1989, p. 227. Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 165.


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2. The Islamic heritage is rich in general educational rules and moral behaviour, starting from the Quran and Sunna, and following on through historical evidence and scientific discoveries. The emotional and religious tones that permeate the chapters of A-Zs book are self-evident, and there is no need to deal with each in detail. It is enough to refer to Chapter 9, Piety and Advice (Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 156) 37 on helpfulness and good advice, which is the longest; to extracts from Chapter 4 Glorification of Education and the Educated on respecting knowledge and those who possess it (Ibid, p. 106)38; and Chapter 12 What creates memory and what causes forgetfulness (Ibid,
p. 169)

, and previous chapters. Here, only the intellectual side

is considered, which is closer to the educational theme of the present article. A-Z contends that all mans life should be a period of learning (LIII). A well-known tradition has it: seek ye learning from the cradle to the grave. Hamilton mentioned that, for many children, the time to learn (or, more accurately, the time to be
37 38 39

Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 156. Ibid, p. 106. Ibid, p. 169.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

schooled) starts earlier in life and finishes later (Hamilton, 1992,

pp. 85-87)

. Knowles notes also that The conception of

education is gradually emerging as a lifelong process beginning at birth and ending only with death (Knowles, 1986, p. 33) 41 . Knowles added that One mission of the adult educator is helping individuals to develop the attitude that learning is a lifelong process, and to acquire the skills of self-directed learning at suitable times of day or night (Knowles, 1975, p. 23)42. He also emphasizes the learners need to stay healthy. A-Zs advice is practical as well as ideological, for example, not to eat food from the market (Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 164) 43 , but to drink honey, eat olibanum with sugar and pick the teeth carefully. Eating twenty-one raisins at breakfast makes one memorise more and cures the body of many diseases and illnesses (Ibid, p.
170, and also Al-Ghazalis Teaching Methodology, a manuscript 16/2) 44; and


Hamilton, Learning about Education in Unfinished Curriculum. Open University Press, Philadelphia: Milton Keyness.1992, pp. 85-87. Knowles, The Adult Learner: A neglected species. Houston, Texas: Golf Publisher Company, 1986, p. 33. Knowles, Self directed learning, a guide for learner and teacher. Chicago: Associated Press, Follett publishing company 1975, p. 23. Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 164. Ibid, p. 170.



43 44


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Ibn-Jamaa, p. 77)45.

On p. 174 A-Z states prophetically that The

learner needs food and knowledge about what increases lifeexpectancy and health so that he can devote himself to learning and increase longevity, by caring for his diet and his body, on the healthy mind in a healthy body principle, and living a clean life in every sense. Good health and clean living enable the student to be diligent and persistent, and to elicit praise from his teacher (Ahmad, M.1989, pp.102, 110, 166)46. A-Z and his book deserve to be regarded as a valuable pedagogic work not only for his views on Islamic education but also for the precedents he set for modern international education: 1. He included preaching, scientific and philosophical matters in the behavioural, theoretical and educational fields (alAkhbar, News, pp. 48, 51, 52)

2. The factors of educational success are dealt with (the materialistic, the artistic and the social motivations) in a plan
Ibn Jamaa al-Kinani, Badr ad-Din, Tadhkirat As-Sami Wal-Mutakallim Fi Adab Al-Alim Wal-Mutaallim (The Listeners Memorandum)..
45 46 47

Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyya,1354 AH , p. 77. Ahmad, M.1989, pp.102, 110, 166. Ibn Qutayba, Uyun al-Akhbar (Sources of Information), Cairo: Dar alKutub, 1963. pp.48,51, 52.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

characterised by comprehensiveness and co-ordination, in addition to the integration of experimental and theoretical values. 3. The student is the centre of education at whatever educational level. He is rightly the addressee and the centre of interest in the book (Instructing the Learner, Methods of Learning). 4. A-Z is not interested in introducing a definite and specific plan for the sciences. He is more interested in showing the right methods of introducing the sciences, whatever they may be. 5. A-Zs interest in the philosophical basis for establishing a balanced and constructive education has deep roots in Islamic education, allowing room for educational

innovation. 6. A-Z stresses the need for a meditative attitude and learning to think, in the study process (reflection). 7. A-Z stresses the need for health education. A-Z has views and suggestions for methods of learning and teaching which were uncommon in his time. The educational values, which are well constructed and logically expounded, in short phrases, are characteristic of A-Z, and reflect his pedagogical skill. The importance of this book as a work of


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education relevant today, and of A-Z as a distinguished educator can be appreciated if his methodology is analysed in more detail.

The Practical Aspect of the Book

A-Zs treatment of the subject of learning has great practical applicability. A-Zs writing of this book about learning was in response to a need that he felt and in an effort to remedy the difficulties that he realised and to reduce the failure rate. Therefore, he wanted to show the methods of learning and the necessary conditions, from a practical viewpoint (Uthman, 1989,
pp. 37-38)

His practical approach gives detailed instructions about learning through reviewing and repetition. He also recommended techniques helpful to learning, such as improving writing and handwriting (Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 112)49 and dividing the book into four quarters because it is easier to lift and put down and read extensively (Ibid, p. 113)50. When A-Z wrote his book, he did not intend to introduce a Learning System, a Learning Model, or a Learning Theory, as
48 49 50

Uthman, 1989, pp. 37-38. Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 112. Ibid, p. 113.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

these terms are used by modern educators. The method of systems, patterns and theories in learning are no more than fifty years old. However, the system that has been introduced can distinguish A-Zs views and outlook on learning, which can easily be understood and accepted by modern educators. However, the secret of the enduring quality of this work is not in its innovative quality, originality or practicality but rather in its essence: it is harmonious, extremely coherent and tightly built, so that it would appear unified from any doctrinal angle. He alerts the learner to think about two important factors that can help him have a pure and clear intention, and consequently a sound approach to learning. First, he who has discovered the pleasure of learning and working with it rarely desires what other people have . Second, the learner learns by making a great effort, which he does not waste upon low mortal life
(Ahmad, M.1989, p. 94)

Intention, as a psychological phenomenon that has its role in much of mans mental and psychological life, needs to be continuously studied and related to the thoughts of both ancient researchers in learning such as A-Z and other bygone Muslim thinkers, and to modern researchers in psychology. However,


Ahmad, M.1989, p. 94


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this was apparently disregarded since it does not occupy a prominent place in modern western thought in the psychology of learning. According to A-Z, determination is necessary for anyone who seeks learning, since man flies with his determination like a bird that flies with its wings (Ibid, p. 121) 52 . Determination motivates action. In fact, it is an internal action that leads to an external action or to behaviour characterised by devotion and determination. A-Z makes a connection between determination and work. He did not consider it only as a condition of preparedness or an internal motivation for work, but held that determination should be combined with diligence and perseverance in learning (Ibid, p. 122)53. It is also connected to interest, (Ibid, p. 174)54. A-Z goes one step further, showing that psychological insight in, first, perseverance or work or behaviour leads to activating ones determination, namely, the relation between determination and work is reciprocal. Determination leads to diligence and persistence, and diligence and persistence lead to determination. The second factor reflects the depth of A-Zs insight into practical psychology by advising
52 53 54

Ibid, p. 121. Ibid, p. 122. Ibid, p. 174.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

the learner to stop being lazy. He tells him to do so by the intentional use of cognitive mental activity, and by

contemplating the graces and virtues of learning, based on the assumption that this contemplation motivates the learner. Here he makes a connection between cognitive mental excitement and motivational emotional excitement. This is a sound connection, confirmed by modern psychological researches, which revolve around the motivational elements found in cognitive mental processes (Hunt, 1963, pp. 35-94)55. A-Z finds a reciprocal connection between determination and behaviour, as between cognitive mental activity and motivational, emotional life. Trust is the basis for purity of intention and determination, since trust in the search of learning emancipates the learner from worldly transient matters. Learning becomes his only interest or concern, and such trust helps his approach to learning become devoid of foreign distractions. Therefore, A-Z argues the learning seeker must have trust in his seeking for learning
(Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 150)

. Consequently, trust leads to saving in


Hunt, Motivation Inherent In Information Processing and Action. 1963, pp. 35-94 Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 150



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mental-emotional as well as physical effort, which focuses on learning. The greater the trust and intention, the greater the determination and the preparedness to make an effort to achieve better learning and understanding. Thus, intention, determination and trust are conditions that lead, if available, to the formation, on the part of the learner, of suitable preparedness, causing him to enter the experience of learning and live it with readiness, and with a mental, emotional approach characterised by

positiveness, openness and courage. Self-discipline, which is a motivational-moral element, is a basic component in A-Zs learning system. In fact, there is no direct reference to it in A-Zs work, but it is manifest in the texture of the book. Uthman (1989, p. 40) 57 states It is a motivational-moral element characterised by internal balance and external moderation, by emotional balance and behavioural moderation, and by the security of the heart and serenity of organs. Does this motivational-moral element of self-discipline have a role in learning? If so, what is it and what is the role of learning in it? A-Zs self-discipline element, and its relation to his learning system, has two main subsidiary elements that combine

Uthman, 1989, p. 40.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

to form it and feed it in all stages of learning. These include the glorification of learning and of the people involved in learning, and piety. A-Z argues that learning cannot be achieved or be beneficial unless it is glorified and valued by the learner (Ahmad, M. 1989, p.

. Thus, the value of learning increases and becomes a

source for many of the interests and activities connected to learning. Here, glorification of learning means positive glorification. It is not verbal glorification, but an activity and behaviour since it reminds the learning seeker of the necessity of deeply respecting learning. This means that the learner should listen to learning and wisdom with glorification and respect, even if he has heard the same word one thousand times (Ibid, p. 113)59. A-Z also reminds the learner to respect his teacher. He says, Related to glorification of learning is glorification of the teacher (Ibid, p. 106)60, because they come from the same source. The learner cannot achieve true glorification of learning without showing respect to the teacher. In his discussion about the glorification of the teacher, he states

58 59 60

Ahmad, M. 1989, p. 106. Ibid, p. 113. Ibid, p. 106.


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that the learner should not walk before the teacher, nor sit in his place, nor start talking without his permission nor ask for something if he is bored, and he should be punctual and he should not knock on the door, but he should wait till the teacher comes out. (Ibid, p.108)61. He goes even further by stressing the need for glorifying the partners in learning. He says, Related to glorification of learning is glorification of the partners of learning and study
(Ibid, p. 113)

. Thus, it seems that A-Z was careful to provide the

learning situation with a social and psychological atmosphere dominated by respect for teaching, for the learner and for the study partners. This respect, in combination with A-Zs demand of the teacher to be modest with those whom he teaches (Ibid, p.

, make it clear that the condition of revering learning, its

people and its partners is, in his opinion, basic to the formation of this motivational-moral element, or self-discipline, to create a productive learning medium in which each party respects the other, and both respect learning. What is the role of the motivational-moral element, or selfdiscipline, in learning? And what is the role of learning in it?
61 62 63

Ibid, p.108. Ibid, p. 113. Ibid, p. 95.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

These questions open wide areas of contemplation and study of one aspect of learning that has not been dealt with properly: the relationship between the moral structure or value-organisation, or self-discipline and learning. There is no doubt that selfdiscipline has a certain value or a motivational role in learning that calls for a theoretical analysis and an empirical examination of its details and dimensions. Self-discipline is an internal balance and external moderation, and emotional balance and behavioural moderation. It is security and serenity, a decrease in the level of anxiety. The relation between anxiety and learning at all levels has been offered for empirical psychological investigation, some of which is old (Uthman, 197864; Osgood, 1953), and some is quite new
(Hilgard, 2000).

What needs to be more deeply discussed is the

relation between anxiety and morale or value formation and learning. This scientific need was inspired by A-Z through periods of time and through subjects of contemplation and fields of study and discussion. Powell (1985, p. 15)65 states: Choice, even if apparent rather than real -- and indeed anything that leads to a sharing of objectives
64 65

Uthman, 1978. Powell, Ways of Teaching. Edinburgh: SCRE Publication. 1985, p. 15.


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by teacher and class -- is clearly an important means of securing pupils' motivation. According to A-Zs learning system, motivation has various simultaneous sources: 1. Self-motivation; which means that it is not external. 2. Content motivation, which means that it is not separated from the material which is being learned. 3. Activity-motivation,which means that it is strongly connected to the learners behavior. 4. Participation motivation, which means that it is not separated from the social environment. Hence, A-Z maintains that the pleasure of learning, grasping and understanding, and the engagement in solving the questions and problems of science are enough to motivate the wise person to achieve learning. Motivation is inspired by the learning material as much as by the learners self-motivation. Knowles is comparing conventional education where the student is required to adjust himself to an established curriculum; with adult education (modern conception) where the curriculum is built around the student's needs and interests (the learner is the centre) (Knowles, 1986, p. 28)66.

Knowles, 1986, p. 28.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

A-Zs views on motivation can be linked to modern views about motivation and its relation to learning. Thus, motivation, the conditions and elements of which are external to the learner his material, or whatever activity or social participation he takes a part in during his learning is not absolute. In addition, motivation will not be a mere emotional matter but will expand to become cognitive as well. Research in learning, and particularly in school learning, did not advance as expected when modern psychology began. Was the reason for this theoretical and practical delay the inaccuracy in imagining the motivation of learning which made Karl Rogers, a leading modern psychologist, express his impatience with such inaccurate imagining? (Rogers, 1986)67. As Powell said, "It is important to recognise the existence of two sorts of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic. The former -rewards of one sort or another, including marks, points, stars involving the establishment of a system which arouses in the pupils the desire to have rewards on offer. Intrinsic motivation, Powell maintains, on the other hand, lies in the satisfaction that may be obtained from understanding the work or learning that arousing pupil interest and maintaining it (about 21% of the

Rogers, The Freedom to Learn. Tel-Aviv: Sifriayt Poalim, 1986.


Khaled al-Khalediy

classes observed appeared to derive motivation from the work undertaken rather than from "rewards"; about 23% depended largely on extrinsic rewards, save for 5% of classes that appeared largely unmotivated, the remainder represented a mixture of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation) (Powell, 1985, p.

. Powell added that competition amongst pupils is usually

used by teachers as a means of motivating pupils to greater effort and many pupils do clearly enjoy competing with each other. What the researchers found particularly interesting was the different ways in which competition was used in a lighthearted way, most pupils appeared to enjoy it and it is open to much doubt whether the less successful were in any way damaged by it (Powell, 1985, pp. 17-18) 69 . The use of praise is considered increasing motivation, as a "reward", a warm, supportive atmosphere, designed to reinforce desired behaviour and to incline pupils to be co-operative (Ibid, p. 19)70. A-Z was fully aware of these techniques and the subjct of learning, and its content cannot be devoid of a motivational element. A-Zs views can be linked to modern views about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and its relation to learning.
68 69 70

Powell, 1985, p. 17. Powell, 1985, pp. 17-18. Ibid, p. 19.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

Importance of the Book in Modern Educational Thought A-Zs book Instructing the Learner occupies a prominent place in Islamic educational literature. It was popular and valued among Moslem scholars (Al-Ahwani, 1955, pp. 239-241)71. Modern researchers consider the book to be one of the only three books that specialized exclusively in educational subjects (Fahmi, A.,
1947, p. 160)

, which are:

1. Virtue of the Teachers Conditions and the Rules of Teachers and Learners by Al-Qabissi Al-Qayrawani (d. 403 AH). When Asma Fahmi wrote her book in 1949, alQairawanis book was a manuscript kept at Dar-al-Kutub alMasriya, but Ahmad Fuad al-Ahwani edited and studied it and published it under the title ar-Resala al-Mufassala leAhwal al-Muallimin wal-Mutaallimin, The Detailed Pamphlet and the Rules of Teachers and Learners (al-Ahwani,

2. Fi Ahkam al-Muaallimin wal-Mutaallimin, On the Rules of Teachers and Learners, by Muhammad Ibn-Abi-Zayd. It

71 72 73

Al-Ahwani, 1955, pp. 239-241. Fahmi, A., 1947, p. 160. al-Ahwani, 1955, The Detailed Pamphlet and the Rules of Teachers and Learners.


Khaled al-Khalediy

is not known whether this book has been edited and studied or not (Uthman 1989, p. 87)74. 3. Talim al-Mutaallim Instructing the Learner, The Method of Learning by A-Z, which is the subject of this study. The book has an interesting history, as outlined below, showing the spread of the book and its educational/ psychological/ scientific content, in the Middle East and in the West, where it has attracted great interest and has been translated and published. Due to his creativity, A-Z became famous in modern educational theories as well. A-Z is a unique example in the Arab Islamic heritage of a great scholar who contributed significantly to education, but went comparatively unnoticed by researchers. A-Z wrote his book, Instructing the Learner, at the end of the sixth Hijri century (twelfth century AD), or the beginning of the seventh Hijri century (thirteenth century AD). Abel and Grunebaum (1946, pp. 59-60)75 fixed the date when it was written
74 75

Uthman, Fi Ahkam al-Muaallimin wal-Mutaallimin, 1989, p. 87 Von Abel, T. M., & Von Grunebaum, K. A contribution of a Medieval Arab Scholar to the Problem of Learning, J. of Personal, Collins, 1946, No. 1, pp. 59-60.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

as 599 AH/1203 AD. The book was well known, widespread and widely used because it was considered to be a great book and unique in its subject (Hajji Khalifa, 1958) 76 . Perhaps what helped its popularity, besides its brevity, is that the writer took what was known then about learning and teaching and presented it in an interesting and attractive style (Khurshid et al.,
1993, Vol. 10, p. 34677; Uthman 1984, p. 42)

The impact and dissemination of the book began in the year 1196 AD in Asia, and continued through the years till the present day, in Europe, Africa and America. Ahmad, M. cites a story about A-Zs impact in the West of Africa. It was translated into Latin in 1196AD (Al-Ahwani, 1955, p. 23979; `Uthman,
1989, p. 88


at the time of the Crusader Wars (1096-1292 AD),

so that it is most likely that it was known in Europe and was

76 77

Hajji Khalifa, 1958. Khurshid et al., Dairat al-Maarif al-Islamiyya (Encyclopaedia of Islam), mosque & madrasa, Beirut: Dar al-Marifa, 1993, Vol. 10, p. 346. Uthman, 1984, p. 42.Return to Az-Zarnooji and Instructing the Learner. Magazine of the Message of Education, 3: 121-164. A Paper Presented at The Second Intellectual Conference of the Arab Thinkers in Baghdad, June 1978 . Al-Ahwani, 1955, p. 239. `Uthman, 1989, p. 88.


79 80


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translated into Latin in that period (Uthman 1989, p. 2881; 1984, p.

142 ) (al-Khalediy, 2002, Graph 1, p. 169)


. It was also translated into

Turkish by Sheikh Abdul-Majeed Ibn Nassouh Ibn Israel, who called it Irshad at-Talibin Fi Talim al-Mutaallimin (Guiding the Learning Seekers in Teaching the Learners) (Hajji
Khalifa, 1958b, Vol. 1, p. 425)

but it is not known when this

translation was made. One of the modern researchers, Ibrahim Salama (Egyptian) (in
Al-Ahwani, 1955, pp. 239, 376)

, considers the books of al-Qabisi

and A-Z as the most important books in education in ancient Arab Islamic culture. According to Ibrahim-Salama: His work will continue to live like a star that spreads its light in the direction of modern education (Ibid, p. 239)86.

81 82 83

Uthman 1989, p. 28. Uthman, 1984, p. 142. al-Khalediy, Kh. The Educational Theory Of Burhan Ad-Din Az-Zarnooji as Reflected in his Book Instructing the Learner Methods of Learning (Ph.D Thesis) . The University of Liverpool. 2002, Graph 1, p. 169. Hajji Khalifa, Irshad at-Talibin Fi Talim al-Mutaallimin (Guiding the Learning Seekers in Teaching the Learners), 1958b, Vol. 1, p. 425 Al-Ahwani, 1955, pp. 239, 376. Ibid, p. 239


85 86


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

An English translation of the book was published in 1947, which was claimed by its two translators, Von Grunebaum and Theodora M. Abel, to be its first translation into a modern Western language. It was translated under the name The Instruction of the Student: The Method of Learning and was published in New York by Kings Crown Press in 1947. The books impact and dissemination reached not only Asia and the Arab and Islamic world, but also Africa and Europe. A-Zs educational philosophy is clearly reflected in

Ebbinghauss study, published in 1885, about eighty years after translating the publication of A-Zs book into Latin, in Leipzig, Germany. The similarity and convergence between Ebbinghaus and A-Zs educational philosophy on the subject of What Causes Memorisation and What Causes Forgetting did not happen by coincidence, but is a natural outcome of the formers familiarity with the latters educational philosophy, through the many quotations made of the Latin translation of Instructing the Learner in Europe and especially in Leipzig87.


Ebbinghaus,What Causes Memorisation and What Causes Forgetting, 1885. Memory. N. Y.: Teachers College(1964).


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A-Zs book was printed and reprinted about eighteen times during the years 1709-1950. A-Zs manuscript has been edited, translated and reviewed in a descriptive rather than an analytical way, without referring to the contribution of this manuscript to the development of modern educational thought. Thus, this research into A-Zs methods contributes a new dimension to pedagogy and assists the spreading of such ancient educational thought in a new light. The small size of the book in relation to other similar Arabic books in this field is a point in its favor, not against it. If the author had wanted to enlarge the size of the book, that would have been very easy. But since he wanted the book to be only about the subject of learning and its method and conditions, he did not want to go into details and elaborate on things that might distract the reader and make him lose his interest in the book that he is studying. That A-Z was strictly careful about his commitment to his method is shown in his habit that, whenever he was dealing with a certain branch of the original subject, he referred to the sources where the reader could read more about it (Uthman, 1989, pp. 35-36)88. He did that when he referred to learning and its advantage with regard to morals and the

Uthman, 1989, pp. 35-36.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

necessity of the learner to learn something about medicine. Anyway, brevity in scientific writing should not be faulted unless it is wrong, but brevity combined with clarity is an advantage for which the writer is praised. In fact, it is a requirement which the researcher and scientific writer should seek and in which he should train the new writer. From a modern perspective, the book is considered to be the first book dealing with self-learning as a crucial issue in modern education. According to Habib-Allah (1986)89, the ideas of A-Z preceded the modern ideas about teaching and learning where the focus today is on "How to learn, rather than what to learn". The method "of teaching how to learn independently turned to be the "content" of teaching because of the knowledge explosion and the need to develop, on the part of the learner, "study", "vocabulary" and "comprehension" skills, and the use of electronic and other learning aids. How to reach knowledge from references like: the Internet, libraries, and Encyclopaedias


Habib-Allah, Al-Hadara al-Arabiyya (Arabic Culture). Nazareth: Dar an-Nahda lit-Tibaa wan-Nashr, 1986.


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and how to attack a new needed information about different topics can be found in Habib-Allah (1988, pp. 115-129)90. Instructing the Learner: Methods of Learning, focuses on teaching methods, which was not a common literary subject in his time. A-Z's book, in the eyes of modern researchers, is evaluated as follows: According to Ibrahim Salama (1938) "his work will continue to live like a star that spread its light in the direction of the foundation of modern education". Tibawi, in Islamic Education (1975) 91 writes that A-Z's book has been translated into Latin and quite recently into English and gives the reasons for his popularity. Ahmad M. (1989, p. 27)92 says that A-Z has acquired deep knowledge in many areas by personal inquiry, as he was educated by teachers and educators of that period. al-Ahwani (1955, pp. 239-240) 93 says that the work of A-Z deals with a unique subject matter: from the first until the sixth Hijri century (622-1223 AD) most works did not include education as a major topic but focused mainly on the Qur'an, poetry and language. This explains the importance and
90 91

Habib-Allah, 1988, pp. 115-129. Tibawi, Islamic Education: Its Traditions and Modernization into the Arab National Systems. London: Luzac & Company Ltd, 1975. Ahmad M. 1989, p. 27. al-Ahwani, 1955, pp. 239-240.

92 93


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought

uniqueness of his book: his views and ideas remained the basis of education until the present. Khurshid (1993, Vol. 10, pp. 345-346)94 says that A-Z formed new and original educational views. However, A-Z was the only scholar, the first one, who devoted to the issue -- teaching and instruction -- a whole book and discussed the subject from the perspective of both the teacher and the learner. His ideas coincide with modern ideas, placing the learner at the centre of the teaching-learning process, and emphasizing self-learning and the need to develop independence by teaching the pupil to learn and educate himself.


Khurshid, 1993, Vol. 10, pp. 345-346


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1. Ahmad, M. (Ed.) (1989). Ta'alim al-Muta'allim (The Instruction of the Learner, Method of Learning), Cairo: Maktabat an-Nahda (Arabic). 2. Ahmad, S. (1993). Mokhtarat Min Tatawur al-Fikr at-Tarbawi, p. 259 Cairo: Alam al-Kutub. Al-Ahwani, A.F. (1983). At-Tarbia fi al-Islam (Education in Islam). Cairo: Dar al-Maarif (Arabic). Al-Ahwani, A.F. (1955) The Detailed Pamphlet and the Rules of Teachers and Learners. Cairo: Dar al-Maarif. Almawi, A.B. (1987). Al-Muid Fi Adab Al-Mufid al-Mustafid. Damascus: Matba at at-Taraqqi (Arabic). Ebbinghaus, H. (1964). Memory. N. Y.: Teachers College. Fahmi, A.H. (1366H/1947AD). Usool at-Tarbiya al-Islamiyya (The Principles of Islamic Education). Cairo: Committee for Writing, Translation and Publishing (Arabic). Habib-Allah, M. et al. (1986). Al-Hadara al-Arabiyya (Arabic Culture). Nazareth: Dar an-Nahda lit-Tibaa wan-Nashr (Arabic). Hajji, Kh. (1958a). Kashf Az-Zunoon An Asma (Fi asami) alKutub Wal-Funoon (Removing Doubts From the Names of Books and Arts), Vols. 1-2 . Baghdad: Al-Muthanna Library & London (Arabic).




6. 7.



10. Hajji, Kh. (1958b). Irshad at-Talibin Fi Talim al-Mutaallimin (Guiding the Learning Seekers in Teaching the Learners), Vol. 1, p. 425.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought 11. Hamdan, N. et al. (1989). Fi at-Turath at-Tarbawi (On the Educational Heritage). Damascus: Dar al-Mamoon lit-Turath (Arabic). 12. Hamdan, N. et al. (Ed.) (1987). Talim al-Mutaallim. Damascus, Beirut: Dar Ibn Kathir (Arabic). 13. Al-Hamadani, Y. (1978). Sultan ash-Sharia Wat-Tariqa. Beirut (Arabic). 14. Hamilton, D. (1992). Learning about Education in Unfinished Curriculum. Open University Press, Philadelphia: Milton Keyness. 15. Hamilton, D. (1989). Towards a Theory of Schooling. London, Philadelphia, N.Y.: The Falmer Press. 16. Hasan, A.I. (1949). Egypt in the Middle Ages, From the Arab Conquest to Ottoman Conquest. Cairo: an-Nahda al-Masriya (Arabic). 17. Hunt, J.Mc.V. (1963). Motivation Inherent In Information Processing and Action. In: In: Harvey, O. J. (ed.) Motivation and Social Interaction. N.Y: Ronald, pp. 35-94. 18. Ibn Abd Al-Barr, Al-Qurtubi, Y. (1994). Jame Bayan al-Ilm Wa Fadleh (The Comprehensive Book Of Learning And Its Merit). Vol. 1, 2. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah (Arabic). 19. Ibn Jamaa al-Kinani, B.D. (1354 AH). Tadhkirat As-Sami WalMutakallim Fi Adab Al-Alim Wal-Mutaallim (The ListenersMemorandum) .Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyya (Arabic). 20. Ibn Qutayba, A.B.M. (1963). Uyun al-Akhbar (Sources of Information), Vols.1, 2. Cairo: Dar al-Kutub (Arabic). 21. Illich, I. (1999). Deschooling Society, Social Questions. New York: Penguin Books.


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22. Al-Khalediy, Kh. (2002). The Educational Theory Of Burhan AdDin Az-Zarnooji as Reflected in his Book Instructing the Learner Methods of Learning (Ph.D Thesis). The University of Liverpool. 23. Khurshid, I. Z. et al.(Translation). (1993). Dairat al-Maarif alIslamiyya (Encyclopaedia of Islam), mosque & madrasa, Vol. 10, 11. Beirut: Dar al-Marifa (Arabic). 24. Knowles, M. (1986). The Adult Learner: A neglected species. Houston, Texas: Golf Publisher Company. 25. Knowles, M. (1975). Self directed learning, a guide for learner and teacher. Chicago: Associated Press, Follett publishing company. 26. Al-Mawardi, A. (1978). Al-Mawardi, A. (1978). Adab ad-Dunia wad-Din (Literature of Life and Religion). Beirut: Dar al-Kutub (Arabic). 27. An-Nawawi, M.(n.d.). Al-Majmou, Taaddud al-Muallimin (Diversity of Teachers) Beirut: Dar al-Fikr (Arabic). 28. Plessner, M (1969) Encyclopaedia of Islam, Biography of A-Z, Vol. 10, pp. 345-349. 29. Powell, J. (1985). Ways of Teaching. Edinburgh: SCRE Publication. 30. Rogers, C. R. (1986). The Freedom to Learn. Tel-Aviv: Sifriayt Poalim (Hebrew). 31. Al-Qurashi, al-Masri, M.D. (1988). Al-Jawahir al-Mudia. Cairo: Hajr lit-Tibaa (Arabic) 32. Tibawi, A. L. (1975). Islamic Education: Its Traditions and Modernization into the Arab National Systems. London: Luzac & Company Ltd.


Az-Zarnoojis Learning Methods and Modern Educational Thought 33. Uthman, S.A. (1989). Learning According to AzZarnooji. Cairo: The Anglo-Egyptian library (Arabic). 34. Uthman, S.A. (1984). Return to Az-Zarnooji and Instructing the Learner. Magazine of the Message of Education, 3: 121-164. A Paper Presented at The Second Intellectual Conference of the Arab Thinkers in Baghdad, June 1978 AD. Von Abel, T. M., & Von Grunebaum, K. (1946). A contribution of a Medieval Arab Scholar to the Problem of Learning, J. of Personal, Collins, No. 1, 59-69.


36. Von Grunebaum, G. E. (1947). Instruction of the Learner, a Method of Learning. New York: Kings Crown Press 37. Yusuf, A.A. (1996). The Holy Quran, Translation and commentary. UK: Islamic Propagation Centre International (Arabic).


London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews

Ideational Perceptions and Operation in Safed Until World War I
Dr. Yossi Mamman
This article seeks to examine the missionary activity of the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews in Safed between the 1830s and 1914 with the outbreak of World War I. This examination is in light of the ideas of the restoration of the Jewish people in protestant thinking and its influence on English Society, the Society's missionary activity in Safed and the local Jews' responses to those activities. It is not my intention to take a chronological approach of just describing the events to cover a period in time, but rather examine the events and the thinking patterns of the involved figures. I will also try to provide answers to the questions: What are the reasons for the awakening of the "Jewish Restoration" in England in the 1830s? What was the reason for the intention to turn Safed into a center of missionary activity in the Galilee? How did doctors integrate missionary activity in their work with


London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews

the patients? Who in Safed distributed the booklet printed in Yiddish called: "Which Is the True Religion?" (velche iz de wahre religion)

Chapter I Ideational Development

A. The Idea of The Jewish Resurrection in Protestant Thought
Reading in the prophets' books has always given rise to the perception of the Jews as God's Chosen People. Millenarianism literature and philosophy1 regard the realization of prophecies pertaining to the "End of Days" as associated with the future of the Jews. Prophecies in the scriptures point to the total defeat of heretics and the Restoration of Israel, the triumph of real faith and the kingdom of the Messiah. The Jews repentance and conversion to Christianity are two events which are actually one.

Millennium a period of a thousand years, in which "Christ will reign" for 1000 years after his second coming. The belief in Jesus Christ's second coming and the millennium is a basic Christian belief. Believer associate specific verses in the Holy Scriptures, to actual events to show redemption is near.


Dr. Yossi Mamman

They are both interconnected and integrated into process of the people's redemption, which is an integral aspect of the era of the "End of Days".2 Thus the notion of resurrection developed, so as to pave the way to the resurrection of the Jews and preparing humanity for greater blessings than it had ever known before. The Jews have to be gathered and judged as preparation for their

Christianization. They are in for a bright future. They will return to their land and be redeemed by the Messiah. But first they have to return to God and recognize Jesus as His Messiah, as recommended by the Reverend Richard Beere recommended that the Jews be gathered from the different parts of the world and return to their land.3 The scriptures introduce calculations of various kinds pointing to different dates when the restoration of the Jews will begin, 1650 or 1766, but there is a consensus regarding the notion that this restoration is necessary for the completion of the full purpose of Christian Puritanism.4

2 3 4

Meir Verete, The Restoration of the Jews in English Protestant Thought, 17901840: Middle Eastern Studies, January 1972 pp. 146 147, 173. Ibid, p. 166. Ibid, p.169.


London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews

There was a direct link between this type of thinking and missionary activities, as those activities were the practical expression of the church theory. Missionaries insisted on executing the perception regarding the general Christianization of the Jews as an introduction to the redemption of the world. Millenarianism literature of that time introduced two

approaches to the description of the state of the Jewish people. The first approach sought to point to its state of contemptibility and depression to emphasize the urgent need to change its condition, while emphasizing the gap between the past and the present, and between the present and the future. The second approach noticed an improvement in the state of European Jews compared to their past' which marks the general direction of radical change. 5

Menachem Kedem, "The Perceptions of Redemption of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel in mid-19th Century Eschatology". Katedra, 19 (1981) p. 56, 58.


Dr. Yossi Mamman

B. The Causes of the Awakening of the "Jewish Restoration" in England

Notions of the "Return to Zion" led to the awakening of the "Restoration of the Jews" movement in England in the 1830s, mainly following the vigorous activity of Lord Shaftsbury who was a proponent of the restoration of the Jews to the holy Land. Among the causes of this awakening, we may list the rise to the throne of the young religious queen Victoria in 1837, during whose regime the Christian Church and everything to do with it flourished. In the political arena, The Turkey lost Syria and Palestine to Muhammad Ali, but he had to evacuate those territories nine years later, and a kind of "void" was created in the region, attracting the attention of the European empires, mainly England. The distress of the Damascus and Rhodes Jews also attracted attention n Western Europe, and the issue of the Jews of the Levant found itself on the agenda of both Jewish and Christian leaders.6 An additional cause lies in the more humane approach to Jews in general. The principles of Christianity decree tolerance rather than contempt and love rather than hate. The change in attitude
6 Ibid, p. 65.


London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews

depends on the Christians, and indeed actions were taken to remove obstacles and steer the Jews in the right direction. This was expressed in addressing the issue of civic equality to the Jews of England as one of the most significant issues for both Christians and Jews7 Alexander McCall, one of the great scholars of the Anglican Church and the era in question argues that the People of Israel is more blessed than other nations in the world, as all of Christianity's heritage and spiritual food come from the Jews. The first Christians were Jews and they spread the gospel among the Romans. The People of Israel is the most blessed on the face of the earth, and hence there is a close link between its restoration and the redemption the entire human race.8 Beere notes Amos asks, "By whom shall Jacob arise?" and answers that we can certainly say that by the order of the Lord, Jacob will arise by England, and that grace has befallen the British nation, which was chosen of all nations, to help the Jews return to their land, and the English ought to be grateful for that great honor. Even political thinking, says Beere, ought to steer

7 8

Ibid, p. 58, 66. Ibid, p. 60.


Dr. Yossi Mamman

us to help the Jews, as when they return to their land and become a nation, they will need the products of English industry.9 James Bicheno argues the British government will do well if it starts acting in the benefit of the Jews early on and "At once to secure the honor of being the instruments, in the hand of Providence, of recovering the unhappy Jews from the miseries of their wandering condition, and of restoring them to their own land" and make them its allies, and guarantee its interests around the world. 10

Verete, p. 176.

10 Ibid, 178 179.


London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews

C. The London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews and its goals in Safed
The Society was founded in 1809 in London to act among the Jews wherever they are11 Underpinning the foundation of the Society is the notion of the Jewish people's restoration and return to their land, where they will convert to Christianity. To get the Jews closer to these ideas, the missionaries of the Society integrated Christian teachings with the teachings of the bible and did not deny the Jewish scriptures. The Society was centered in London and had institutions such as a library, a museum and a printing press which distributed different periodicals, among them the Jewish Missionary Intelligence. The intention was to provide comprehensive information from different sources about the Jews, such as the people's history, description of its present situation, the Jewish lifestyle, the basics of the Jewish religion, faith and tradition. This information was meant to help each Christian who was willing to contribute to the mission among the Jews indirectly via donations or directly in missionary activity. It was from that

11 Abdul Latif Tibawi, British Interests in Palestine (London, Oxford University, 1961), p. 5.


Dr. Yossi Mamman

center that the activists were sent to the Jewish centers around the world, and they made sure to distribute the Society's goals ideationally and practically. From the ideational perspective, the activity was characterized by spreading the Bible and the New Testament translated in to Hebrew, while the practical aspect focused on establishing philanthropic institutions such as separate boys' and girls' schools, setting up workshops for adults and operating welfare and institutions for the entire population.12 The Society's people believed that the Jews were willing to approach the investigation of the principles of Christianity, and that many Jews believed in the Messianism of Jesus, a phenomenon that justified the missionary method. Thousands of fans participated in the Society's gatherings, where it was declared that there is a large field of work among Jews in their land, which required an increased number of missionaries. In addition, the Society had access to large funds, and was supported by the British government due to the great interest it had in the Jews at that time.13

12 Shaul Sapir, "Origins of the Anglican Mission societies operating in Jerusalem and in Palestine in the 19th Century to the end of World War I. Katedra, 19 (1981) p. 156. 13 Kedem, pp. 57, 61.


London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews

The Society's missionaries operated in Europe and North Africa as well as the Far East. The Society's center in Palestine was in Jerusalem (1833) and in Safed (1843), Jaffa (1845) and Hebron (1893).14 How important was Safed in the Society's future activity? The significance of Safed can be seen in the fact that the society's missionaries toured Safed to learn about its situation before launching their activities. One of the most important figures of the Society in first steps in the holy Land was Reverend John Nicholayson, who had visited the land a few times in the 1820s and the early 1830s. In 1826 he visited Safed.15 Safed was a Jewish center in the Galilee, inhabited by some 8,000 Jews, and hence constituted the future educational arena in the north of the Land of Israel16 Masterman states the Galilee of that time was in a state of degeneration and lack of knowledge. Its residents were ignorant about the vitality of

14 Sapir, p. 157. 15 Tibawi, p. 13. 16 William Livingstone, A Galilee Doctor (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1923).


Dr. Yossi Mamman

Christianity.17 Hence, there was hope that vigorous educational Christian activity would beget a new generation in Safed whereby the boys and the girls would be in the hands of the mission.18 Another tradition was for missionary physicians to dedicate most of their time to gaining medical experience through working with the local population.19

Chapter II: The London Society's Activities in Safed

The mission began its activity in Safed upon the establishment of a station which started acting in 1843, managed by Alexander and Joseph Samuel, German converts. Their lack of success was mostly due to local resistance, and so the activity ceased in 1856. Activity resumed in 1884 as educational and medical missionary activity.20 Actvity resumed after a decision had been made to return to Safed only after collecting practical

17 Ernest Masterman, Studies in Galilee (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1909).

P. 41.

18 Livingstone, p. 123. 19 Henry Robinson, History of Christian Missions (London: Morrison and Gibb Ltd, 1915) p. 36. 20 Tibawi, p. 6, 209.


London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews

and reliable information about the residents and conditions in the place, which would be conducted by thorough exploration.21

A. Medical Missionary Activity

Already in 1848 Safed Jews approached the London Mission society asking for a doctor to be sent to Safed as had been the case in Jerusalem. It appears this request had not results. However, in 1884, a mission doctor arrived in Safed, but his name is name is unknown.22 The literature mentions a number of doctors who acted in the mission. Dr. Fares Sahyun, a Christian born in Beirut and graduate of an American university, engaged in extensive medical work.23 Dr. Frankel, who was also a pharmacy owner, managed to persuade the authorities to shut down all pharmacies whose owners were unlicensed, and thus only his pharmacy remained operating. He started visiting people who were ill, and declared a hospital would be built and the work would be done by poor Jews and orphans.24 In early 1890, the
21 Livingstone, pp. 22 23. 22 Yaron Bar-El, History of Modern Medicine in the North of Israel in the Ottoman Era (Haifa, Technion, 1985) pp. 12, 16. 23 Tibawi, p. 209. 24 Efraim Tubinhos, In the Individual's Path (Haifa: Metzuda Publication, 1957). P. 96.


Dr. Yossi Mamman

mission brought a new doctor to Safed, Dr. Holiwitz. He was already old when he arrived and visited ill people day by day and at nights. Due to his weak legs, he was forced to ride a donkey everywhere he went, and he also gave free medications. His hands were full, as many patients required his services, mostly because he was so devoted.25 The doctors found that campaigning among the patients was rather useful. The patients who were hospitalized received, in addition to medications, doses of "spiritual Christian nutrition and had to listen to the doctors' knowledge of Isaiah. Meir Tubinhos tells that the hospital was full of patients, and before the doctors answered their queries, he would speak Christian catechisms for at least two hours. The doctors would address the Jews in Hebrew with the intention of instilling Christian ideas in them.26

25 Bar-El, p. 17. 26 Tuninhos, p. 94, 97, 99, 100.


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B. Educational Missionary Activity

Missionary activity in the domain of education focused on two directions: propaganda among orphans and youths of poor families who had suffered in the community, and hence it was easy to attract them to the mission, where they were relieved of all material worries. A converted Jew, Ben-Zion Friedmann would walk around and persuade Jews to undertake protestant faith, and even engaged in conversations with patients, and persuaded Leibale Levinson and Simcha Bunis Ruheld to embrace Christianity.27 A missionary delegation distributed a pamphlet in Yiddish, titled "What is the True Religion" which paid tribute to Christianity. The pamphlet bore the name of Meir Lehrman, and it was later found that it had been written by Ben-Zion Friedmann and translated into Yiddish by his friend, Max Greene, a famous missionary writer in America.28 Another line of educational work was in schools. Mrs. Penson opened a girls' school in Safed, with the help of a senior teacher, Amina Fares. This educational framework started in
27 Tubinhos, p. 21, 94, 104. 28 Ibid, p. 103.


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kindergarten and accepted girls from all social classes. The school had a full curriculum and was considered one of the best in Palestine. Furthermore, a boys' school opened and led by Massoud Kurban. Only the mission schools operated in Safed.29

C. Local Population's Response

The mission's activity encountered powerful opposition within the local community. Despite being a measured person, Tubinhos was a zealous Jew and fought the mission. Under his direction, posters were placed on synagogue doors on Shabbat Eves to warn the Jews of the danger of forced conversion. Jews boycotted parents who had sent their children to mission schools.30 Both the school and its pupils were boycotted. Parents received threats regarding corporal punishments to their childrenthey said the illnesses of the community were inflicted because of the children who were influenced by the missionpermission was given to throw stones at the schools and its teachersthe school

29 Livingstone, pp. 123, 214, 228, 242. 30 Tubinhos, p. 209.


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suffered a good deal, and girls would arrive at the crack of dawn and return home only after sunset.31 A new Jewish school opened and provided free meals to 210 pupils and even sent gifts to the parents.32A soup kitchen called "Galilee Bread House" (Beit Lechem Haglili) was established by Meir Tubinhos so that the poor would have a place where they could get a slice of bread and a cup of tea. Tubinhos dedicated a good deal of time and energy to the place, which lasted many years and was famous in Safed and its surroundings.33 There was a need for medical services so as to prevent the mission's hospital from contacting the Jewish population, thus distancing the population from the Christian doctors who made great efforts to save the "Jewish soul" more that the patient's body, and therefore, Tubinhos established an association which opened a clinic and invited Dr. Cohen to come from Jerusalem.34


Livingstine, p. 124.

32 Tibawi, p. 209. 33 Tubinhos p. 109. 34 Ibid, p. 21, 100.


Dr. Yossi Mamman

What was the economic reality in which the residents lived during the period discussed in this article? The society addressed by the mission was poverty stricken. Jews lived in disgraceful conditions: there were no workshops, and only a few Jews could make a living by getting jobs. Most of the Jewish population lived on "Halukka" funds, and so, Safed constituted good grounds for missionary activity. With the support of the British Government and funds, the missionaries purchased land and houses in Safed and started engaging in missionary activity via the best propaganda experts sent from London. With the help of Jewish who converted to Christianity, they served as role models to the Jewish population. In the hospital which provided free medical care, and in the schools, missionary activity was part of the routine integrated with medical and educational activity. The heads of the Safed Jewish community led by Meir Tubinhos struggled against the mission and in practice resisted missionary activity by founding a school, a workshop, a soup kitchen and a clinic with a Jewish doctor, and at the same time, boycotting the mission's institutions and its population. Thus


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they damaged the missionaries' activities and prevented the mission from expanding. In the long-term, the missionary activity also ceased due to internal conflict among missionaries who lived in Safed and their centers in Jerusalem and London.


Dr. Yossi Mamman

1. Bar-El, Y. (1985). History of Modern Medicine in the North of Israel in the Ottoman Era. Haifa, Technion. [Hebrew] 2. Verete, M. (1972). The Restoration of the Jews in English Protestant Thought1790-1840: Middle Eastern Studies, January, pp. 146 147, 17; [Hebrew] 3. Kedem, M. (1981). The Perceptions of Redemption of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel in mid-19th Century Eschatology. Katedra, 19, 55 71 [Hebrew] 4. Livingstone, W. (1923). A Galilee Doctor. London: Hodder and Stoughton. 5. Masterman, E. (1909). Studies in Galilee. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 6. Robinson, H. (1915). History of Christian Missions. London: Morrison and Gibb Ltd. 7. Sapir, S. (1981). Origins of the Anglican Mission Societies operating in Jerusalem and in Palestine in the 19 th Century to the End of World War I. Katedra, 19, p. 155 170 [Hebrew] 8. Tibawi, A.L. British Interests in Palestine. London, Oxford University, 1961. 9. Tubinhos, E. (1957). In the Individual's Path. Haifa: Metzuda Publication, [Hebrew].

10. Bar-El, Y. (1985). History of Modern Medicine in the North of Israel in the Ottoman Era. Haifa, Technion. [Hebrew] 11. Verete, M. (1972). The Restoration of the Jews in English Protestant Thought 1790-1840: Middle Eastern Studies, January, pp. 146 147, 17; [Hebrew]


London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews 12. Kedem, M. (1981). The Perceptions of Redemption of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel in mid-19th Century Eschatology. Katedra, 19. 55 71 [Hebrew] 13. Livingstone, W. (1923) A Galilee Doctor. London: Hodder and Stoughton. 14. Masterman, E. (1909). Studies in Galilee. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 15. Robinson, H. (1915). History of Christian Missions. London: Morrison and Gibb Ltd. 16. Sapir, S. (1981). Origins of the Anglican Mission Societies operating in Jerusalem and in Palestine in the 19 th Century to the End of World War I. Katedra, 19, p. 155 170 [Hebrew] 17. Tibawi, A.L. (1961). British Interests in Palestine. London, Oxford University. 18. Tubinhos, E. (1957). In the Individual's Path. Haifa: Metzuda Publication, [Hebrew].