Arabic biographies of Mohammed – Brockelmann’s bibliography

More than a month ago I obtained paper copies of Brockelmann’s great but flawed reference volumes on Arabic literature.  Seeing only a page or two on the Arabic biographers of Mohammed, I was moved to try to scan these, and then turn them into English. 

Well, it’s been one heck of a fight!  The abbreviations were incomprehensible, and the material so densely packed that even Brockelmann himself got confused about his number sequences (I have seen two cases so far where his numeration of works by an author gets out of sync), and his text was evidently unreadable to his typesetters as well.  Worse yet, there is no obvious way to merge the data in the “supplement” with the main text. 

But I did it.  And the material is now online, here.  Enjoy, if you can!

It’s not quite finished.  That’s because I simply couldn’t understand some parts of it.  My German is weak, and my knowledge of Arabic literature and the bibliography for it is non-existent.  But I did what I could.


2 thoughts on “Arabic biographies of Mohammed – Brockelmann’s bibliography

  1. Thank you this is very useful! It is interesting how long it took for Arabs to write a biography of Mohammed (100 plus years for the first one). I suppose this is actually pretty standard for the ancient, classical, and medieval worlds, I think investigators into the life of Jesus are spoiled by the early primary sources.

  2. I think it’s pretty natural for such stuff to be committed to writing later than we think. Who would write a book, when some eyewitnesses are around who could say “no it wasn’t like that at all”, unless the author himself was an important figure? We should also remember that stuff may well be lost from an earlier period.

Leave a Reply