Social and political factors, such as mission, emigration, persecution and diaspora, contributed significantly to the widespread dissemination and diversification of doctrine and literature of the heterodox Ismaili community. Using a group of composite manuscripts (maǧmū'āt), the lecture looks at the literary history of the Ismailis in Syria, whose tradition has been largely hidden, unrecorded or destroyed. Multiple text and composite manuscripts prove to be real treasure troves that can offer insight into the circulation and reception of texts as well as into the conditions and forms of their transmission and preservation.
The speaker Verena Klemm is Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Oriental Institute of the University of Leipzig with a focus on culture and history. She initiated several DFG projects to record and research the collection of Arabic, Persian and Ottoman manuscripts at the University of Leipzig, such as the project on the Damascus private library Rifāʿīya (Refaiya). Since 2018, she has been head of the long-term project "Bibliotheca Arabica. New History of Arabic Literature" at the Saxon Academy of Sciences. Her publications cover the history and literature of the Fatimid period, Islamic manuscripts in a cultural-historical context, and modern Arabic literature and literary debate.