Wajih Kawtharani: History of Historiography

08 January, 2012
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The ACRPS has published a new book by Dr. Wajih Kawtharani, titled "History of Historiography: Trends, Schools, and Methods", which discusses the notion of historical knowledge through the methodologies of scientific investigation, as well as the controversial depiction of history as a "science". 

The book is a historical retracing of the idea of history and historical writing among the Arabs, and the evolution it has taken, from the adoption of the methods of Isnad (chain of transmission) in the recounting of Prophetic sayings and Naql al-Khabar (transmission) in the chronicling of biographies and translations, to the adoption of modern academic methodologies. The origin of this volume was a 2001 booklet titled "History and its Schools in the West and the Arab World", but this book remains fully original and comprehensive, exploring the various Western schools in the study of history, such as the documentary and methodological schools, which came out of the positivist school, the Marxist school, and the French Annales school. Furthermore, the author employs critical readings, both methodological and conceptual, to discuss notable Arab historians and researchers in the fields of ideology, political philosophy, and political sociology, including Constantine Zreiq, Abd al-Aziz al-Duri, Nqula Ziadeh, Zein Nureddine Zein, Tareef al-Khalidi, Radwan al-Sayyid, Muhammad Abid al-Jabiri, and Naseef Nassar.

"History of Historiography" is 448 pages long and includes a methodological introduction, three chapters, and a conclusion, in addition to a list of references and an index. The introduction consists of an examination of the notion of history, the evolution of its formal meaning in the Latin and Arab cultures, and an exhaustive comparison between the Greek term "historia" and the Arabic term "Ustura". Throughout the book, the author discusses the ideas proposed by Lebanese historian As`ad Rustum in terms of the rules of al-Jarh wal-Ta`deel (the criticism and assessment of historical chronicles, especially as applied to the verification of Prophetic sayings), as well as Ibn Rushd's reservations about the method of al-Jarh wal-Ta`deel, comparing the propositions of the two thinkers. The author closes with lucid conclusions regarding the discipline of historiography, the extent of its independence, and its relation to social sciences and the humanities.


Purchasing ACRPS books

Those wishing to acquire books published by the ACRPS can order them directly from the Neel wa Furat Bookstore, which is equipped to handle sales and payments online:

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