Writing a Grammatical Commentary on Hafiz of Shiraz: A Sixteenth-century Ottoman Scholar on the Divan of Hafiz
Inan, Murat Umut
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This dissertation explores the study and interpretation of the Divan (poetry collection) of Hafiz of Shiraz (d. ca. 1389), the most celebrated lyric poet of classical Persian, in the sixteenth-century Ottoman Empire and discusses the ways in which Hafiz's Persian text was read, glossed and translated by Ottoman scholars. In terms of its scope, the dissertation focuses on a late sixteenth-century Ottoman Turkish commentary by Ahmed Sudi (d. ca. 1600), an Ottoman scholar of Arabic and Persian philology who is well-known primarily for his grammatical commentaries on Persian classics. The main concern of the dissertation is to explore and discuss the ways in which Sudi's grammatical commentary on Hafiz's Divan departs from the mystical/allegorical commentaries written by his predecessors Muslihiddin Sururi (d. 1561), an Ottoman Naqshbandi scholar renowned for his mystical commentaries on Persian classics, and Sem`ullah Sem`i (d. 1603), an Ottoman scholar affiliated with the Mavlavi order and the author of a number of allegorical/mystical commentaries on Persian classics. Reading Sudi's commentary against the background of his predecessors' and paying attention to the critical tone underlying his work, the dissertation demonstrates how an Ottoman scholar with a disciplinary training in Arabic and Persian philology presents his commentary as a critique not only of the canon of mystical scholarship but also of the textual and interpretive practices associated with it. In this regard, the dissertation argues that the primary motivation behind Sudi's writing a non-canonical commentary is his pioneering attempt at introducing a grammatical approach to textual interpretation into the sixteenth-century Ottoman mystical scholarship on Persian classics.