The Age of the Gharīb: Strangers in the Medieval Mediterranean

  • Michael Pifer
Part of the Mediterranean Perspectives book series (MEPERS)


This chapter examines the migrations of a single loanword and loan-concept—the gharı̄b, or stranger—across Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Armenian speaking communities. In particular, by analyzing the sermons and literary production of seminal figures such as Judah Halevi, al-Ghazzālı̄, Jalāl al-Dı̄n Rūmı̄, Yūnus Emre, and Mkrtich‘ Naghash, it argues that the gharı̄b had utility as a referent across a dizzying array of religious and linguistic contexts. Therefore, because of the gharı̄b’s unique ability to be simultaneously “native” and “foreign” at the same time, it serves as a valuable heuristic for considering the highly migratory nature of cultural production within the medieval Mediterranean world.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Pifer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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