In my absence, I encourage my readers to post a take a moment and leave a quick reply in the comments section of an earlier post, A Poll For the Readership. When I return to the blogging world it will be what I look at first to determine what I shall write about next.
Of late this corner of the blogosphere has been quite keen on the ideas of Ibn Khaldun. For the most part those discussing these ideas learned of them not in their work of origin, The Muqaddimah, but through well written intermediaries.* While I find no fault in this (I am far too guilty of this crime to fault others for it), I have always felt that it is best to go to the source, particularly when a work is as old as this one.
You can thus understand the absolute sense of delight I felt upon finding the Franz Rosenthal’s three-volume translation of The Muqaddimah sitting on the shelf of my local library. You can buy an abridged version of this translation on Amazon.com for $1.99, but the original three-volume set will cost you more than $300. Not wanting to spend $300 for one title, I had decided to place The Muqaddimah at the back of my reading list until I found a cheaper copy or was ready to go through the hassle of an inter-library loan. This discovery happily spared me the bother of both options.
To make things even better, next to the three volume set was Charles Issaawi’s An Arab Philosophy of History: Selections from the Prolegomena – an entirely different translation of The Muqaddimah whose existence I was completely unaware of!
Quite understandably, I have checked out all four of the books from the library. As the amount of reading involved is on the larger side (+1500 pages) and my schedule is rather cramped, I announce my intent to stay away from the blogosphere until I have finished Khaldun’s opus. I have a rare free weekend in front of me, and if I do not waste the opportunity I am fairly confident that I will be able to read The Muqaddimah one end to another before next Tuesday.