Ibn Khaldun  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Ibn Khaldūn (May 27, 1332 AD/732 AH – March 19, 1406 AD/808 AH) was an Arab Muslim historiographer and historian, and one of the founding fathers of modern historiography, sociology and economics.

Legacy

Europe

In Europe, Ibn Khaldun was first brought to the attention of the Western world in 1697, when a biography of him appeared in Barthélemy d'Herbelot de Molainville's Bibliothèque Orientale. However, some scholars believe that Ibn Khaldun's work may have first been introduced to Europe via Ibn Arabshah's biography of Tamerlane, translated to Latin, which covers a meeting between Ibn Khaldun and Tamerlane. According to Ibn Arabshah, during this meeting, Ibn Khaldun and Tamerlane discussed the Maghrib in depth, as well as Tamerlane's genealogy and place in history. Ibn Khaldun began gaining more attention from 1806, when Silvestre de Sacy's Chrestomathie Arabe included his biography together with a translation of parts of the Muqaddimah as the Prolegomena. In 1816, de Sacy again published a biography with a more detailed description on the Prolegomena. More details on and partial translations of the Prolegomena emerged over the years until the complete Arabic edition was published in 1858. Since then, the work of Ibn Khaldun has been extensively studied in the Western world with special interest.

Early European works on Ibn Khaldun suffered heavily from colonial influences and orientalism, as many sociologists considered North Africa to be unworthy of studying in the19th century. Additionally, many sociologists viewed Ibn Khaldun as the only North African sociologist worth studying. Reynold A. Nicholson praised Ibn Khaldun as a uniquely brilliant Muslim sociologist, but discounted Khaldun's influence. Spanish Philosopher José Ortega y Gasset viewed the conflicts of North Africa as a problem that stemmed from a lack of African thought, and praised Ibn Khaldun for making sense of the conflict by simplifying it to the relationship between the nomadic and sedentary modes of life.

Ibn Khaldun's contributions to economics were ignored by historians like Joseph Schumpeter, who wrote that "we may safely leap over 500 years to the epoch of St Thomas Aquinas" as late as 1954. While Ibn Khaldun lived after St Thomas Aquinas, Schumpeter makes only passing references to Khaldun, and excludes Khaldun's predecessors. However, modern historians have recognized the contributions of Ibn Khaldun and many of his predecessors.


See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ibn Khaldun" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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