This paper follows the professional and personal biography of one of the most important third/ninth century Iraqi grammarians, Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā Thaʿlab (d. 291/904). Although Thaʿlab did not leave a long-lasting legacy as a scholar in the form of a fully fledged grammatical school, his prominence during his life was great, as was his financial success. Virtually all younger contemporary students of grammar could claim him as a teacher; he also tutored many children of kuttāb and aristocratic families, besides attending their majālis, where learning was displayed for the entertainment of the assembled guests. Because of these activities, which were practiced throughout a famously long life, and because of Thaʿlab’s fondness of telling anecdotes about his youth, the sources are generous with details about his personal life and quirks, from both sympathetic and hostile perspectives. Some of the traits of Thaʿlab’s character, as for instance his avarice, seem to be recurring in the portrayals of many of his colleagues, while others single him out. Starting from his youthful journey in search of knowledge, this paper examines and sorts information on Thaʿlab, identifying recurrent themes in the sources and arguing for Thaʿlab’s biography the role of prototype and paradigm of a grammarian’s life.

A Grammarian's life / L. Osti. ((Intervento presentato al 10. convegno Conference of the School of Abbasid Studies tenutosi a Leuven (Belgio) nel 2010.

A Grammarian's life

L. Osti
Primo
2010-07-08

Abstract

This paper follows the professional and personal biography of one of the most important third/ninth century Iraqi grammarians, Muḥammad b. Yaḥyā Thaʿlab (d. 291/904). Although Thaʿlab did not leave a long-lasting legacy as a scholar in the form of a fully fledged grammatical school, his prominence during his life was great, as was his financial success. Virtually all younger contemporary students of grammar could claim him as a teacher; he also tutored many children of kuttāb and aristocratic families, besides attending their majālis, where learning was displayed for the entertainment of the assembled guests. Because of these activities, which were practiced throughout a famously long life, and because of Thaʿlab’s fondness of telling anecdotes about his youth, the sources are generous with details about his personal life and quirks, from both sympathetic and hostile perspectives. Some of the traits of Thaʿlab’s character, as for instance his avarice, seem to be recurring in the portrayals of many of his colleagues, while others single him out. Starting from his youthful journey in search of knowledge, this paper examines and sorts information on Thaʿlab, identifying recurrent themes in the sources and arguing for Thaʿlab’s biography the role of prototype and paradigm of a grammarian’s life.
Abbasids ; grammar ; biography ; autobiography
Settore L-OR/12 - Lingua e Letteratura Araba
School of Abbasid Studies
A Grammarian's life / L. Osti. ((Intervento presentato al 10. convegno Conference of the School of Abbasid Studies tenutosi a Leuven (Belgio) nel 2010.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/146026
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