A Dissertation Writing Scholarship is awarded annually by the IIS to doctoral students reaching the completion of their studies. This year’s recipient is Fârès Gillon who is completing his doctoral studies at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, a Graduate school created in 1868, and associated with the University of Paris.
Mr. Gillon’s doctoral project investigates one of the oldest available Ismaili texts, the Kitab al-Kashf, attributed to the early 10th Century Ismaili da‘i, Ja‘far b. Mansur al-Yaman, which discusses aspects of pre-Fatimid Ismaili doctrines.
The book itself comprises six independent treatises of differing lengths, styles and literary forms, including arguments supporting Imam Ali’s imamat, refutations of the arguments of his opponents, Qur'anic exegesis and discussions of cosmological ideas. According to Prof. W. Madelung, in his article "The Imamat In Early Ismaili Teachings" published in Der Islam (1961), these works were most likely written by different authors in the early Fatimid period and only collated by Ja‘far b. Mansur al-Yaman.
The work Fârès Gillon has undertaken has been assessed as a valuable contribution to the field of Ismaili studies. Previous to this, the Kitab al-Kashf (re-edited Strothmann 1952, Ghalib 1984) has never received analytical treatment.
Since 2001, this Dissertation Writing Scholarship, which carries a stipend of £3000 (or local equivalent), has been assisting promising graduate research students and doctoral candidates to complete their fieldwork or dissertation.