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John Dechant "Ahmad-i Jam and the Use of Miracle Stories in Hagiographic Literature"

Mon, Nov 4, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Charter Room IMU

John Dechant, a doctoral student in NELC, with minors in CEUS and Religious studies,  will be discussing his research on "Ahmad-i Jam and the Use of Miracle Stories in Hagiographic Literature" on November 4th, noon to one in the Charter Room in the IMU.

“Shaykh Ahmad-i Jam, who is traditionally said to have lived between 1049-1141, but who more likely lived between 1059-1139, is one of the great under-studied Sufis.  Otherwise known as "Zhanda Pil," or, “the colossal elephant,” Ahmad wrote several treatises and had a popular diwan of poetry attributed to him; his gravesite in Khurasan became an important center of pilgrimage; and he fathered a large and influential family, that despite peaking in power in the Timurid era, survives to this day.  While these other factors help to explain his and his descendants continuing power and popularity, I argue that the attribution of miracles was one of if not the key reason for Ahmad's sanctification, which helps to explain his and his family's other sources of power.  Therefore, my presentation traces how miracles or "karamat" came to be attributed to Shaykh Ahmad-i Jam?  In particular, by tracing the evolution of a miracle story dealing with alchemy and looking at some very bawdy tales in order to ask this question, I hope to show that hagiographical miracle stories are a way in which the hagiographer reconciles the events he knew occurred with a world view which allows for miracles, and as literary devices meant to appeal to a mass audience.”

This is the second in the new Graduate Student Brown Bag Talks, designed to allow students to share their research, work, experiences and goals with their peers.

Teresa Nichols, Tuesday, October 29th, 12-1 in Ballantine 004.

John Dechant, Monday, November 4th, 12-1, Charter Room IMU.

Elise Anderson, Monday, November 11th, 12-1, Hoosier Room IMU.

Kris Rees, Tuesday, November 19th, 12-1 in Ballantine 004.

Tim Grose, Tuesday, December 3rd, 12-1, Hoosier Room IMU.

Sponsored by:
Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center