Al-Jahiz: In Praise of Books
Al-Jahiz was a bibliomaniac, theologian and spokesman for the political and cultural elite, a writer who lived in Iraq during the first century of the 'Abbasid caliphate. He advised and argued with the major power brokers and leading religious and intellectual figures of his day, and crossed swords in debate and argument with the architects of the Islamic religious, theological, philosophical and cultural canon. His many, tumultuous writings engage with these figures, their ideas, theories and policies. They give us an invaluable but much-neglected window onto the values and beliefs of this cosmopolitan elite.