Persian and Persianate Documents from al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem (13th-14th Centuries)


Zahir Bhalloo


April 11, 2024


The corpus of over 900 legal and administrative documents from al-Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) in Jerusalem is of outstanding importance for understanding the history of pre-Ottoman Asia. Most of these documents are in Arabic and were produced in fourteenth century Mamluk Jerusalem. An intriguing sub-corpus of 78 multilingual and multiscriptual documents in Persian, Arabic, Georgian, Armenian, Turkic and Mongolian, however, were produced outside Jerusalem in the region of Transcaucasia, Anatolia, and Northwest Iran between 1208-1353. This presentation discusses the latest research on this latter Persian and Persianate sub-corpus and its significance for shedding light on archival practices in the eastern Islamic lands under Ilkhanid Mongol rule.


Zahir Bhalloo completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford on the practice of Islamic law in early modern Iran in 2013. Since then he has carried out post-doctoral research at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris and at Freie Universität in Berlin. He is currently the Principal Investigator of a Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) funded project on the Persian Documents from al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem at the Centre for Manuscript Cultures, Universität Hamburg. He is the author of Islamic Law in Early Modern Iran: Sharia Court Practice in the Sixteenth to Twentieth Centuries (Berlin, 2023) and with Said Aljoumani and Konrad Hirschler, Catalogue of the New Corpus of Documents from the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem (Berlin, 2024). Besides his interest in Islamic legal documentary culture, he has also published articles in the field of Shii studies.