The Dimension of Music in Islamic and Jewish Culture: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Dimension of Music in Islamic and Jewish Culture

1st Edition

By Amnon Shiloah


336 pages

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Hardback: 9780860783527
pub: 1993-04-22
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Though we can no longer hear how it sounded, the written sources that remain provide much information on the music of the medieval Islamic and Jewish worlds, on how it was regarded and on the importance that was attached to it. Amnon Shiloah has been a pioneer in the exploration of these sources, and the present volume brings together some of the results. The opening studies examine, with annotated translations, several key works expounding the meaning of music and its power, in terms of its ethical and therapeutic effects and properties. The following articles focus on scientific writings about music and on the transmission of musical knowledge, while the final section approaches the subject from the angle of religion, noting how the power attributed to music occasioned the distrust of many religious figures, who feared its capacity to deprave and debase its audience. Bien que nous ne puissions plus de nos jours l’entendre, les sources écrites qui ont survécu apportent énormément d’information sur la musique des mondes juifs et islamiques, sur l’importance qui y était attachée et sur son rôle. Le professeur Shiloah est un des pionniers en terme d’exploration de ces sources et le présent volume rassemble un certain nombre des résultats de ses recherches. Les premières études, accompagnées de traductions annotées, font l’examen de plusieurs travaux importants, exposant la signification de la musique et sa puissance de par ses effets et ses propriétés morales et thérapeutiques. Les articles suivants se concentrent sur les écrits scientifiques au sujet de la musique et sur la propagation de la connaissance musicale. La dernière section aborde le sujet à partir de l’aspect de la religion, soulignant combien le pouvoir attribué à la musique entraînait une certaine méfiance de la part d’un certain nombre de religieux, qui craignaient son aptitude à avilir et dépraver ceux qui l’ecoutaient.


’…[an] estimable and most welcome collection.’ Bulletin for the School of Oriental and African Studies

About the Author

Amnon Shiloah, Professor of Musicology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General