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Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800

by Khaled El-Rouayheb University of Chicago Press
Pub Date:
03/2009
ISBN:
9780226729893
Format:
Pbk 224 pages
Price:
AU$55.99 NZ$59.12
Product Status: Available in Approx 5 days
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Attitudes toward homosexuality in the pre-modern Arab-Islamic world are commonly depicted as schizophrenic—visible and tolerated on one hand, prohibited by Islam on the other. Khaled El-Rouayheb argues that this apparent paradox is based on the anachronistic assumption that homosexuality is a timeless, self-evident fact to which a particular culture reacts with some degree of tolerance or intolerance. Drawing on poetry, biographical literature, medicine, dream interpretation, and Islamic texts, he shows that the culture of the period lacked the concept of homosexuality.

“Meticulously researched, lucidly written, nuanced, and brilliantly conceived, [the book] forthrightly takes on complex issues surrounding the culture of same-sex eroticism that existed in the Arabic-speaking lands of the early modern Ottoman Empire. . . . An important book by an excellent scholar.”—Journal of Religion
"Meticulously researched, lucidly written, nuanced, and brilliantly conceived, [the book] forthrightly takes on complex issues surrounding the culture of same-sex eroticism that existed in the Arabic-speaking lands of the early modern Ottoman Empire. . . . Although the book will be obligatory reading for students of Ottoman and Arab literature, culture, sociology, intellectual history, the history of sex, and related fields, it most certainly belongs on the bookshelves of those with any interest in the history and theology of Islam or, more generally, in religious approaches to sexuality. . . . An important book by an excellent scholar."
Khaled El-Rouayheb is assistant professor of Islamic intellectual history in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University.