Our Virtual Bookshelf displays books written and edited by former IIAS fellows that were initiated or completed during their stay at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, and which acknowledge the IIAS in print. The books are the natural outcome of our visiting Research Group members’ stay at the IIAS – reading, studying, interacting with colleagues – and we are pleased to present them to you.

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"The power of the heart that blazes in the world: an Islamic theory of religions in early modern Java." IMW 47(139):308–334

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The prominence of Hindu-Buddhist mythology, imagery, and
religiosity in Islamic Java has puzzled observers. The shadow play
with its Mahābhārata- and Rāmāyan a-derived subject matter is a
prime example. Another is the late 18th-century ‘renaissance’ of
Old Javanese literature in the Islamic kingdom of Surakarta, which
produced classics still celebrated today. Beyond a misguided
assumption that the Javanese were so strongly disposed to
syncretism that blatant doctrinal clashes did not bother their
intellectuals, the factors that animated this enterprise remain
obscure, despite its critical consequence for the development of
Javanese religiosities. I scrutinize several unstudied manuscripts
and piece together information from hitherto unconnected
scholarship to try to understand these factors, with reference to
pressing circumstances, living theories, as well as people who
think, feel, and hope. First I examine Javanese theoretical ideas
about the relationship between the Hindu-Buddhist and Islamic
traditions and the connection between epic narratives and the
present and future of Java. Against this background I consider the
initiative, in 1778, to reinterpret the ancient epic heritage,
beginning with the Arjunawiwāha (composed c. 1030). Focal
points of interest in the Islamic hermeneutics of this poem were a
quest for inner potency and the resulting external power of
violence, knowledge and revelation, and future kingship.

See also: Humanities, 2019