It's a beautiful night, warm with a gentle breeze, perfect for sitting outside with the telescope to look at the stars. Unfortunately, I've got a mammoth amount of actual work to do, so this will be a short post.
I came across this book the other day, prompted by comments on a post below by Aziz, Zack and Razib, on Amazon.com: An Ismaili Heresiography: The "Bab Al-Shaytan" from Abu Tammam's Kitab Al-Shajara (Islamic History and Civilization. Studies and Texts, V. 23). The title was intriguing, but Amazon didn't provide a description, although I found one here:
Presents the "Chapter on Satan"(Bab al-shaytan) from a long unrecognized Ismaili work called the Kitab al-shajara by the 4th/10th century Khurasani da‘i, Abu Tammam. The satans of Abu Tammam's "Chapter" are the founders and instigators of the seventy-two heretical sects of Islam. Each sect has been accorded a relatively lengthy description as perceived from a generally Shi'a and Mu‘tazili point of view. Most entries offer new information about these sects and, in several cases, the account given is for a sect almost completely unknown in the existing Islamic heresiographical literature.
Sounds like perfect summer beach reading, but regrettably, the price is rather steep. I'll have to sleep on this one.Posted by Ideofact at July 17, 2003 12:17 AM