Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Butrus Al-Bustani and the first Arabic Encyclopedia

It is not true that the 19th century (incomplete) Da`irat Al-Ma`rif is the first Arabic encyclopedia (and the entries are not all original: only the Arabic entries on Arabic topis are original while the rest were copied from English encyclopedias of the time).  Many works of the Arab-Islamic heritage are also encyclopedic like Lisan Al-`Arab or Asfahani's Al-Aghani or Al-Jahiz's Kitab Al-Haywan or Subh Al-A`sha by Qashqalandi or Al-`Iqd Al-Farid by Ibn `Abd Rabbuh among others.