Over the past four decades Professor Fenton has specialized in the study of the influence of Islamic mysticism (Sufism) on Jewish spirituality and practice, and has published numerous articles in this field, mostly in English and French, in which he is a leading expert of world renown. His articles, which have appeared in internationally acclaimed scientific journals deal with the historical connections between Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah and Sufism, mainly in the thought and practice of Jews living in the Islamic context. Fenton has also chosen the comparative study of certain mystical practices, such as saint veneration, solitary retreats and visitation of tombs, as carried out in Judaism and Islam. Given the important contribution these studies hold for the furtherance of understanding between Jews and Muslims based on the spiritual values they hold in common, the present project aims to translate these studies into Hebrew and publish them as a volume of collected articles to bring them to the notice of the Israeli readership. The project involves the translation of the articles and their publication by Idra Press, which specialises in mystical texts both in the Jewish and Muslim tradition.
The project: Publication by the Idra Press, directed by Professor Avi Elqayam (Bar-Ilan Unversity) of the Collected Studies on Jewish and Islamic Mysticism by Paul B. Fenton.
The project, which was awarded a grant by Matanel in 2019, is still in its initial stages. Of the 30 or so collected articles not originally in Hebrew, about 15 have been translated. An equivalent number remain to be done. As is known the translation and editing is an expensive process, for which the author and editors are seeking further financial support in order to achieve the project’s aim.
The Idra Press is a well established publishing house which produces very handsome and reasonably priced books. Its publications have been widely diffused and have been well received by the Israeli public, both academic and non-academic, as well as the Hebrew readership abroad. Once published in Hebrew, which for the reasons stated is the primary aim for the moment, the book could be entirely translated into English or French. It is felt that it could be of great interest for students of comparative religion as well as those involved in inter-religious dialogue.
Project : Publication by the Idra Press, directed by Professor Avi Elqayam (Bar-Ilan Unversity) of the Collected Studies on Jewish and Islamic Mysticism by Paul B. Fenton.
Paul B. Fenton
Contact address: UFR études arabes, Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 1 rue Victor Cousin 750005 Paris
mail: [email protected]
Both an Arabist and Hebraist, Paul B. Fenton is Co-Director of the Department of Arabic and Hebrew Studies at the Sorbonne Université de Paris, where he has been Professor of Hebrew language and literature since 1996. He is also a reearch worker at the Laboratoire de l’étude des monothéismes (CNRS). After Rabbinical studies, he majored in Semitics at Strasbourg University and St. Joseph Univerity in Beirut, going on to complete his PhD in Mediaeval Jewish philosophy and Judaeo-Arabic literature under Georges Vajda (Sorbonne, 1976). His field of research covers various aspects of Jewish civilisation in the Muslim world and he has worked extensively on the Cairo Genizah manuscripts. He is director of the E. J. Brill series « Études sur le judaïsme médiéval », and has published numerous studies and monographs in the field of Jewish culture in the Islamic context in several languages, notably his Deux traités de mystique juive (1987), Moïse Ibn ‘Ezra, philosophe et poète andalou du XIIe siècle (1997), Le Commentaire kairouanais sur le Livre de la Création (2002), Joseph Ibn Waqâr, The Principles of the Qabbalah (2004), Judah Ibn Malka, La Consolation de l’expatrié spirituel (2007, Juda al-Harizi, Kitâb al-Durar, The Book of Pearls (2009), L’Exil au Maghreb : la condition juive sous l’Islam (2010, 2nd ed. 2012), published by the Sorbonne, Muhammad Ibn Zikri (17th c.), On the Eminence of Israelites and Arabs (Madrid, CSIC, 2015) is an apologetical work in defence of the Neo-Muslims of Jewish origin in Morocco. His latest book is a French translation of Samuel Romanelli’s Travels in Morocco (2019).
Besides his research and teaching, Professor Fenton has been widely involved in interfaith dialogue in Europe, America and Asia.
Over the past four decades Professor Fenton has specialized in the study of the influence of Islamic mysticism (Sufism) on Jewish spirituality and practice, and has published numerous articles in this field, mostly in English and French. Given the important contribution these studies hold for the furtherance of understanding between Jews and Muslims based on the spiritual values they hold in common the prresent project aims to translate these studies into Hebrew for the Israeli readership.