Najaf: Portrait of a Holy City

Najaf: Portrait of a Holy City

by Sabrina Mervin and Robert Gleave

Edited by Géraldine Chatelard

Published by: Garnet Publishing

320 pages, 6.50 x 9.50 in

  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9780863725760
  • Published: September 2017


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This unique collection of scholarly essays (with eight pages of illustrations) examines the historical and social development of one of Iraq's most important cities, a center of religious learning and devotion for the Shi'i community for centuries. Leading Iraqi and international scholars illuminate Najaf's global spiritual and educational prominence and its modern role as a hub of economic and political activity.

The fifteen essays in this volume cover topics such as Najaf's architecture and urban design, as well as the preservation of its built environment; the impact of social movements and revolutions on the city; pilgrimage and religious authority in Najaf; and the city's libraries and intellectual development.

Bringing together a diverse range of scholars—each drawing from different historiographical and epistemological traditions—this book fills a serious knowledge gap about this important spiritual site for Shi'is. It is the only edited academic volume available on the subject, in either in English or Arabic.

Dr. Sabrina Mervin is a specialist of contemporary Shi'ism and a researcher at the Centre d'études interdisciplinaires des faits religieux (CEIFR), Paris.

Prof. Robert Gleave is a specialist of Islamic thought and religious authority in Shi'i Islam, and a professor of Arabic Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter University.

Dr. Géraldine Chatelard is a specialist of contemporary Iraq and Jordan and Associate Researcher at the Institut français du Proche-Orient (Ifpo). She is also the coordinator of the UNESCO project "Preserving Najaf's Cultural Heritage and Enhancing Its International Visibility."