Institut für den Nahen und Mittleren Osten



The 4th Conference on the Layout and Structure of Arabic Documents (7th to 16th Centuries)

In the frame of our current project on "The Digital Diplomatics of Arabic Documents" (2016-2021), following the conferences in Vienna (2016), Zurich (2018), and Granada (2019), this is the fourth and last conference. Due to the current situation, our meeting will be held entirely online, from November 26th to 28th, 2020. As in former workshops, we will stick to relatively few presentations and leave much time for discussion. We will also present the final version of the new Munich database on text and layout structure. As this is the last of our four workshops on typology, we are planing to publish a collective volume.

To register for the discussion, please contact ursula.bsees at with your CV and research interests.

Preliminary Programme


3:00 pm CET Arrival, check-up on audio/video settings

4:00 pm Welcome address, introduction

  • Andreas Kaplony, Ursula Bsees (Munich)
  • Patricia Hswe (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York)
  • Yasmin Faghighi (Cambridge University Library)
  • Andreas Kaplony, Ursula Bsees: Introduction

4:30 Session 1: Documents from the West (Chair: Alex Metcalfe, Lancaster)

  • Jeremy Johns (Oxford): The Documenting Multiculturalism Project: the types of Arabic documents from Sicily and their structures
  • Nadia Jamil (Oxford): The Documenting Multiculturalism Project: Particularities of the Arabic deeds of sale from Norman Sicily
  • Josef Ženka (Prague): The original and its copies: Three Andalusi documents from the 15th century
  • Discussion (registered participants)


1:00 pm CET Arrival, check-up on audio/video settings

1:30 Session 2: Legal documents (Chair: Arietta Papaconstantinou, Reading/Oxford)

  • Rocio Daga Portillo (Munich): The role of religion in legal documents: Law formulas and religious formulas from the East to the West
  • Khaled Younes (Cairo/Vienna): Arabic labor contracts on Papyrus: Layout and phraseology
  • Wissem Gueddich (Paris: Les étagères du tribunal : reconstituer la classification de l'écrit à partir des documents légaux de la Genizah du Caire
  • Discussion (registered participants)

3:30 Presentation of the APT (Arabic Papyrology Typology) by the Munich team

  • Short general introduction
  • Tutorials on the new tool in small groups

4:30 Session 3: Organising data, building structure: Registers, tables, statements (Chair: Konrad Hirschler, Berlin)

  • Michail Hradek (Munich): Possibilities, limits, and perspectives: Towards a typology of Arabic list documents
  • Naïm Vanthieghem (Paris): A new typology of tax receipts from Abbasid Upper Egypt
  • Johannes Thomann (Zurich): New astronomical tables and diagrams
  • Leonora Sonego (Munich): Bows, loops, hooks and curved wedges: How can angles help us date Arabic papyrus documents?
  • Discussion (registered participants)


3:00 pm CET Arrival, check-up on audio/video settings

4:00 Session 4: The art of writing and the art of writing to (Chair: Jessica Goldberg, Los Angeles)

  • Jessica Goldberg (Los Angeles): Diplomatic Indications of status relationships in Geniza merchant letters
  • Ed Hayes (Leiden): Corresponding with the Imams: What can we learn from letters transcribed in Shiʿi sources?
  • Geoffrey Khan (Cambridge): Introductory formulae in Arabic Qasr Ibrim letters
  • Andreas Kaplony (Munich): Four Arabic documents from the Afghan Genizah
  • Discussion (registered participants)

6:30 Farewell address