The Kitāb Sībawayh of ʾAbū al-Ḥasan ʾAḥmad b. Naṣr

Jean Druel, “The Kitāb Sībawayh of ʾAbū al-Ḥasan ʾAḥmad b. Naṣr: A non-Sīrāfian recension of the Kitāb”, in Zeitschrift für arabische Linguistik 71 (2020), pages 29‒56.

The Milan-Kazan codex of SĪBAWAYH’s (d. ca 180/796) Kitāb is a 5ᵗʰ/11ᵗʰ century North-African parchment today split between three collections: 1) Milan, Ambrosiana, X 56 sup. (115 folios), 2) Kazan, National Archives of the Republic of Tatarstan 10/5/822 (48 folios), and 3) London, Bernard Quaritch Ltd catalogue 2018/3, item number 11 (6 folios). When put together, these three manuscripts contain only one fourth of the whole text of the Kitāb. This codex sheds a new light on the gradual stabilisation of SĪBAWAYH’s text. Its recension is linked to a certain ʾABŪ AL-ḤASAN ʾAḤMAD B. NAṢR, mentioned on the first folio of the Milan fragments.
Focusing on one specific issue, namely the possibility to form the diminutive of the names of the days of the week, this paper compares SĪBAWAYH’s teaching according to the text as accepted by scholars to date (as in DERENBOURG 1881‒1889), along with the early commentaries and the recension of the Milan-Kazan codex according to its four successive hands.
At this point, it is impossible to say that this recension is pre-Mubarradian, that is to say one that escaped the “authoritarian stranglehold” on the text by AL-MUBARRAD (HUMBERT 1995:92). However, the Milan-Kazan codex surely contains a non-Sīrāfian recension of SĪBAWAYH’s Kitāb, that is a recension which, unlike the “received” text of the Kitāb, was not influenced by AL-SĪRĀFĪ’s commentary.

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