• 09 May 2024
  • Online
  • Talks and Lectures
  • Shi'i Studies

Between Zulaykha and Joseph: Shiʿi Allegoresis of Surat Yusuf

Yusuf fleeing the Advances of Zulaikha'' by Bihzad, folio from a ''Bustan'' of Sa'di. Herat, 1488. Darl al-Kutub, Adab farisi 22, f. 52b
Surprising little has been written about exegesis of Surat Yusuf, the Qurʾan’s “greatest of narration” (ahsan al-qasas), and certainly the longest and most substantial narrative in the Qurʾan. The little that has been written about Shiʿi interpretations of the Surat Yusuf has generally taken as its starting point Sunni exegesis, Jewish exegesis of the Hebrew Bible, or both. This paper describes two interpretations in hitherto unpublished sources of esoteric literature: the Ismaili missionary Jaʾfar b. Mansur al-Yaman’s (d. c. 960) Kitab al-fara’id wa-hudud al-din (The Book of [inheritance] Allotments and the Limits of Religion”), and the second, al-Risala al-Yusufiyya (The Joseph Epistle) by Abu al-Fath al-Baghdadi (thrived late fourth/tenth century).

Hosted by the Institute of Ismaili Studies (London) and convened by Dr Orkhan Mir-Kasimov, the Islamic History and Thought Lecture Series is designed to invite scholars of various international academic institutions, specialising in intellectual, social and political aspects of medieval and early modern Islamic societies, to present and discuss their research. Watch previous lectures on our YouTube channel.

Speaker: David Hollenberg (Associate Professor, University of Oregon)

Discussants: Dr Orkhan Mir-Kasimov (IIS), Dr Fârès Gillon (Aix-Marseille University).

Please note that the lecture will be recorded and uploaded on the IIS website.
Image: ''Yusuf fleeing the Advances of Zulaikha'' by Bihzad, folio from a ''Bustan'' of Sa'di. Herat, 1488. Darl al-Kutub, Adab farisi 22, f. 52b