Encyclopaedia Islamica

Encyclopaedia Islamica

The Department for translating The Great Islamic Encyclopaedia (Dāʼirat al-Maʽārif-i Buzurg-i Islāmī) into English, after evaluations and discussions with prominent researchers and scholars inside and outside the country, officially initiated its activity in cooperation with the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London in 2003. After examining the preliminary steps, which lasted for two years, a group of experts, chief advisors, editors, and translators inside and outside Iran, contributed in translating, editing, updating, and, in some cases, rewriting the articles of The Great Islamic Encyclopaedia. The work is under the supervision of Kazem Musavi Bojnurdi (editor-in-chief of the Persian edition) in Tehran, Wilfred Madelung and Farhad Daftary (editors of the English edition) in London, and the scientific editors (Sadegh Sajjadi, Ahmad Pakatachi, and Reza Shahkazemi). These collaborative efforts resulted in publishing the first two volumes with more than 400 articles until the beginning of 2008. The first volume, with 210 articles in 850 pages in the same year, and the second volume, with 193 entries in 824 pages in 2009, were published under the title Encyclopaedia Islamica (EIs) by Brill publishing house in Leiden, the Netherlands.

The editing of the articles includes five stages and final approval by the editors-in-chief and chief advisors. In addition, because of the difference in the alphabetical order in the Persian and English editions, some articles are compiled specifically for the English edition, and the entries less significant for the European audience are omitted or summarized.

This encyclopedia, whose articles are written by experts from the Islamic world, attempts to maintain an approach distanced from Orientalist approaches. While retaining many considerable strengths, the works with the orientalist methods, such as the Encyclopaedia of Islam (EI2), are subject to numerous limitations. On the contrary, Encyclopaedia Islamica belongs to the Islamic culture in terms of content, approach, points of emphasis, and methodology as much as possible. This path allows the Islamic culture to develop an ingenious dialogue with other cultures, especially the West, in this ambiguous and uncertain period of human history. Encyclopaedia Islamica provides a basis for compensating the relative neglect of previous similar research projects about the eastern regions of the Islamic world, especially Iran and Central Asia, and Shia culture. The editing team members are Stephen Hirtenstein, Shahram Khodaverdian, Isabel Miller, Wendy Robinson, Roxan Zand, Rahim Gholami, Dariush Mohammadpour, Sara Hajihosseini, and Marjan Afsharian. Farzin Negahban, Javad Ghasemi, Rahim Gholami, and Mohammad Sohail Omar have been active translators of the project as well.

 

 

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