Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age is the most comprehensive study of the modernizing trend of political and social thought in the Arab Middle East. Full text of “Albert Hourani Arabic Thought In The Liberal Age, ” ALBERT HOURANI Cambridge UNIVERSITY PRESS TO THE PRESIDENT. Audience: General; Summary: “Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age is the most comprehensive study of the modernizing trend of political and social thought in the.

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It continues to command the field. This reissue again makes available Hourani’s comprehensive study of the roots of Arab nationalism in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It focuses on the movement of ideas in two countries, Egypt and Lebanon.

The author has written a new preface that puts new emphasis on research and interpretation. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age is the most comprehensive study of the modernizing trend of political and social thought in the Arab Middle East.

Albert Hourani studies the way in which ideas about politics and society changed during the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries, in response to the expanding influence of Europe. His main attention is given to the movement of ideas in Egypt and Lebanon. He shows how two streams of thought, the one aiming to restate the social principles of Islam, and the other to justify the separation of religion from politics, flowed into each other to create the Egyptian and Arab nationalisms of the present century.

The last chapter of the book surveys the main tendencies of thought in the post-war years. Since its publication inthis book has been regarded as a modern classic of interpretation. It was reissued by the Cambridge University Press in and has subsequently sold over copies. Read more Read less. Add both to Cart Add both to List. One of these items ships sooner than the other.

Buy the selected items together This item: Ships from and sold by Amazon. Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. The Modern Middle East: Princeton Readings in Islamist Thought: Cultural Critique in Comparative Perspective. The Mantle of the Prophet. Review ‘This classic work is as fresh and interesting as when it was first published thirty years ago.

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Hourani is famous and hkurani for a reason. I liked working with this vendor. It is difficult finding some books that I like to read at a price that is affordable. This vendor was able to do that. This book is an extensive version of Hisham Sharabi’s Arab Intellectuals.

Albeet highlights the reaction of the Arab intellectual circles to the expanding European influence that had reached the Arab world by the early 19th century. Hourani, however, presents a more thorough description of the life and thought of the most prominent Arab thinkers of the time including Jamaluddine Al-Afghani and Muhammad Abdo among others as opposed to Sharabi’s brief account on the life and works of these people.


Despite the academic nature of this work, grasping what’s in it is easy and not at all complicated. Hourani’s narration is well-researched and elegant while his translation of the original texts is also remarkable.

The end result is an accurate account that invites the admiration of the readers. This book is so much needed for those who are interested to understand the evolution of Arab thought over the past two centuries and how this evolution was interrupted with arahic discovery of oil and the advent of imperialism. Hourani and Hitti have always been the darlings of modern Western American at least thought on the Middle East and while Hitti may cloud much of what he writes with a bizzare form of Lebanese nationalism that is equally as far fetched as Turkish, Arab, Persian and Slav nationalism that have done little but bring misery to those nations.

Hourani on the other hand is a little more down to earth and while this book may have its faults until someone else comes out with better it remains the best of its kind. The book covers the history of Arab reform in the latter part of the Ottoman Empire, I have no idea what point a previous reviewer was trying to make about the Portuguese conquest of parts of Moghul India he seems to have failed to point out the Portugues also had colonies in present day Morocco and Muslim East Africa also as around a,bert same time the Ottomans who he wrongly calls a ‘Turkish’ empire had conqured much of Eastern Europe and their Tatar allies much of Russia.

If only Americans would stop to look beyond their own narrow history and even give a glance to Europes history. Hourani points out the foundations of the Arab nationalist movement were from to some extent a Christian background and how the teachings of Islamist reformers such as Afghani and Abduh formerly a darling of the Ottoman Caliphs became one and the same with the ideas of pan-Arabism and Arab nationalism.

Hourani gives extensive detail qlbert the lives of Afghani and especially Abduh and just where they took much of their inspiration from. One fault I do feel I have with this book is he covers little of libearl the structure of the Ottoman empire that the myth of Arabs being some kind of ‘colonised people’ is just a complete nonsense and that the roots of Arab nationalism are far more complex than that.

The book however does give some insight and does act as a useful introduction to modern Middle Easter thought. I would definately recomend this book to anyone who realy is serious about wanting to know about the roots of some of the modern conflicts in the Middle East. Not the be and and end all but without doubt a very good place to start.

Although Islam had begun retreating at least as early as when a small Portuguese squadron operating far from home destroyed Muslim naval power at Hormuzthe Muslim world was so hermetic that it did not realize the terms of trade had changed decisively for almost years.

Arabic thought in the Liberal Age, / [by] Albert Hourani – Details – Trove

Only when Napoleon slaughtered the Mamelukes in did Muslims recognize that they were backwards. Some of them anyway. In this classic, though known more than read, work, Albert Hourani says that the first interest in the West was a quest for weapons.

That began the tradition, which exists today, of liberal army officers attempting to reform traditional governments. Liberal in only a restricted sense, of course. After a generation, a civilian Arab intelligentsia began to emerge, especially in Cairo and Beirut. Reforming despots again, reforming in a limited sense thoutht the need for western largely French knowledge to staff their governments. Hourani traces how these modernizing men began to wrestle with competing ideas: Some of these men were litterateurs only, but many got involved in politics.


Not a few were murdered. All attention is directed toward reformist thought.

Arabic thought in the liberal age, 1798-1939

In a masterful introduction, Hourani sets out the traditionalist view of Islam and then lets it sit in the background. Some of his comments approach the aphoristic. For example, “Muslims believed themselves obliged to keep their neighbors’ consciences as well as their own.

But there were many others. To an infidel, the most attractive, by far, was Qasim Amin, who told the Arabs: Within the ken of the Muslims, the world was comprised of empires, including their own Ottoman one, with which they had a difficult time coming to terms. Some thought the empire, though led by Turks, vital to Islam; others were ready to adopt a more particularly Arab stance.

The second approach allowed Arab Christians to join with Arab Muslim reformers. Hourani’s history is of Arab thought, not exclusively Muslim thought. Only occasionally does the old Islam peek through, but when it does it signals a message to the 21st century. Even the “reformer” Bakhit could write: Hourani ends his assessment inwhen world war upset everything, including the French and British empires, although he does carry some of the story forward.

He completed the book inat a time when secularism and nationalism seemed to have established an ascendancy in Egypt and western Asia.

Since then, of course, the socialist, secular trend has proven to have been just a passing fancy. In his look to the future fromHourani was spectacularly wrong. Nevertheless, “Arabic Thought” must be a fundamental text for infidels in trying to understand Islam and especially Middle Eastern varieties. The book must make depressing reading for Arabs.

No matter how they thought it should be accomplished, all the modernizers were after the same thing: As ofthe record is complete failure by every and all approaches. Hourani’s book was directed at scholars in InCambridge University Press brought out a paperback edition, and my copy from a printing brags that it had then sold over 8, copies. No wonder so few understood, or understand now, what’s up, although no doubt many more copies than 8, have been sold since My second-hand copy has notations indicating it was used as an undergraduate text.

Well, for serious undergraduates. There is nothing recondite here, but Hourani’s text is dense. CUP should consider a new edition, with the French quotations translated at least in an appendix, although with computer typesetting it ought to be possible to amend the main text at a reasonable cost.

When Hourani wrote, he was a professor at Oxford and he could assume that all his few readers would be as conversant in French as in English. The French here is not difficult. Even my high school French coped with it easily. However, it can no longer be assumed that even educated American or British readers can also read French.