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Gotha manuscript workshop: Alchemy in the Islamicate world

28. September 2018 - 29. September 2018

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Alchemy was a widespread practice in the Islamicate world that was taught from early on to the 19th/20th century. In spite of its popularity attested to by historical references as well as the wealth of alchemical manuscripts that have come down to us, the study of Arabo-Islamic alchemy has been neglected for several decades. Notwithstanding a renewed interest in the field in recent years, scholars are still struggling to come to terms with seminal alchemical texts and central aspects of Islamic alchemy like the terminology and codes used by alchemists, or alchemy as a practice and science in its social contexts.

The workshop, organized jointly by Prof. Dr. Regula Forster, University of Zurich, and Gotha Research Library, aims to close some of these research gaps by bringing together established and younger scholars working on alchemy and by providing them with the opportunity to engage directly with the alchemical manuscripts of the Gotha collection. The panels will focus on the Gotha collection, the foundations of Islamicate Alchemy, on Decknamen, Terminology, and Codes, on alchemy as a practical art and science, as well as on alchemy as literature and visual art. By addressing these topics we also hope to lay the foundations for future transregional research on alchemy.

The workshop is organized by the Gotha Research Library in collaboration with the project “Between Religion and Alchemy. The scholar Ibn Arfaʿ Raʾs (d. 1197) as a model for an integrative Arabic literary and cultural history”, University of Zurich.



Forschungsbibliothek Gotha
Schloss Friedenstein
Gotha, 99867
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Forschungsbibliothek Gotha
Universität Zürich