Arabic biography

Faustina Doufikar-Aerts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter examines the Arabic biographical tradition. The genre of biographical writing is a celebrated, multifaceted, and widely practised field of Arabic literature. Basic forms of biographical compilation can be shown from the first century of Islam (seventh century), initially orally transmitted and later in writing. The Arabic biographical tradition was mainly developed from within Islam, to which it owes its noticeable character. It probably originated from the earnest aspiration of generations following the initial period to preserve knowledge about the central figures of that era. For that reason, biographical transmission, initially, was a highly religion-orientated discipline. Nevertheless, or perhaps even due to this stimulus, there developed a huge field of different biographical genres and specialized life-writing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Ancient Biography
EditorsKoen De Temmerman
PublisherThe Oxford University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780198703013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks
PublisherOxford UP

Bibliographical note

Online published: 13-01-2021.


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