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Spring-Summer 2000
Vol. 62, No. 3

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RESEARCHING AN ISLAMIC MYSTIC

Emil Homerin
Homerin: Off to Turkey and Egypt

Emil Homerin, chair of the Department of Religion and Classics, has received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for his work in editing and translating an influential manuscript of Islamic mystical theology.

The grant is taking him to Egypt and Turkey, where he will research a commentary by the 14th-century mystic and scholar al-Qaysri. This handwritten work examines the famous "Wine Ode" by Ibn al-Farid, a 13th-century Egyptian considered the most important Arab poet in the Islamic mystical tradition. Ibn al-Farid's ideas on spiritual love are expressed in metaphors of wine and romantic love.

"Al-Qaysri's commentary is still widely quoted today," Homerin says. "It shows how poetry was used to articulate and spread various religious ideas."

Comparing different handwritten versions of the 50-page manuscript, Homerin will edit and create the first typed edition of al-Qaysri's work. He will also translate the work into English. Next year, Homerin will also publish a book of translations, commentary, and analysis based on his decade-long research on Ibn al-Farid.

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