Hebrew Collection of Origin Legends, 1781
Hebrew Collection of Origin Legends, 1781
© Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries (bearbeitet)

Hindu-Muslim-Jewish Origin Legends in Circulation between the Malabar Coast and the Mediterranean, 1400s–1800s

Project lead and contact person:

Faculty and Department:

Faculty 09 PhilologyInstitut für Arabistik und Islamwissenschaft

Project duration and funding agency:

March 2023 to February 2027 – DFG and Arts and Humanities Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) (with a one-year suspension)

Research question:

The project examines the relationship between local communities on the southwestern coast of India with each other and with wider communities in the western Indian Ocean and Mediterranean region during a period of significant geopolitical transformations. Our main interest targets the emergence of new types of networks and the role of religion therein.

Project Abstract:

The starting point is the analysis of the origin legends of Hindu, Muslim and Jewish communities in Malabar/Kerala, which all revolve around the same person, namely a Hindu king who divides up his kingdom and allocates territories to specified communities, depending on the telling’s community of origin. Such tellings travelled as far as Europe, converging with European messianic imaginations on the Indian Ocean world. A selection of seven tellings in three languages (Malayalam, Arabic, Hebrew) will be examined in three dimensions: linguistic, literary, and content analysis. The analysis aims at the identification of inter- and intra-religious demarcation in rival tellings and their chronological classification. Contrasted with the European interventions in the region, the tellings will be read as reflecting the negotiation of geopolitical tensions and the formation of new networks.

Digital methods to be used:

  • Digital Edition (oXygen XML Editor)
  • Visualization
  • Website

Role of SCDH in this project:

  • Support for data modelling and the creation of the digital edition
  • Development of software
  • Management and archiving of data

Links: HiMuJe Malabar