Palestine Across Millennia
Paperback, 352 pages
In this magisterial cultural history of the Palestinians, Nur Masalha illuminates the entire history of Palestinian learning with specific reference to writing, education, literary production and the intellectual revolutions in the country. The book introduces this long cultural heritage to demonstrate that Palestine was not just a 'holy land' for the four monotheistic religions – Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Samaritanism – rather, the country evolved to become a major international site of classical education and knowledge production in multiple languages including Sumerian, Proto-Canaanite, Greek, Syriac, Arabic, Hebrew and Latin. The cultural saturation of the country is found then, not solely in landmark mosques, churches and synagogues, but in scholarship, historic schools, colleges, famous international libraries and archival centres.
This unique book unites these renowned institutions, movements and multiple historical periods for the first time, presenting them as part of a cumulative and incremental intellectual advancement rather than disconnected periods of educational excellence. In doing so, this multifaceted intellectual history transforms the orientations of scholarly research on Palestine and propels current historical knowledge on education and literacy in Palestine to new heights.
1: Literacy and Functionality: The Scribal Schools of Ancient Palestine
2: Cities of Learning: The Intellectual Revolutions of Byzantine Palestine (3rd-early 7th Centuries)
3: Greek and Syriac into Arabic and the Palestine's Translation Movement under Islam: Monasteries of Learning, Mar Saba and Arabic belles lettres (8th -11th Centuries)
4: Latin Learning and the Crusader Kingdoms of Palestine: The Library of Nazareth
5: The Golden Age of the Islamic Law Colleges of Jerusalem:The Palestinian Madrasas under the Ayyubids and Mamluks (1187-1517)
6: Legal Pluralism and the Social World of Palestine in the 17th Century: The Azhar College of Cairo and Palestinian Muslim Scholars
7: The 'Azhar' of Palestine. The Ahmadiyya Seminary of Acre (1782-1948)
8: Modernity, the Printing Press and Mass Literacy: The Educational Revolution of Late Ottoman Palestine and the Mandatory Period (1860s-1948)
9: Humanism and Arab Nahda Education: Khalil Sakakini and Reforming Palestinian Education
10: Learning From Below:The Kuttab Schools in Palestine (Muslim, Jewish and Christian)
11: Between Professionalism and Cultural Nationalism: Palestinian Education in Mandatory Palestine (1918-1948)
Epilogue: The Libraries, Archival Collections and Sharia Courts' Records of Modern Palestine