How old is the world? This question was a central problem for Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the face of the new scientific discoveries in the nineteenth century. This book introduces the answer from a Muslim point of view, outside of official institutions. The extended introduction – a microhistory in the Middle East – explores the life and œuvre of a forgotten Egyptian intellectual and poet, Muṣṭafā Salāma al-Naǧǧārī (d. 1870). Next, A. Mestyan provides the English translation and Arabic transcription of the surviving fragments of al-Naǧǧārīʼs manuscript, . This is a universal history of Egypt, written while the Suez Canal was under construction to praise the governor Khedive Ismail (r. 1863-1879). The author advocates a unique solution to computing the period of primordial history, before the Deluge, in the age of steam and print. Al-Naǧǧārī’s alternative Nahḍa voice is available for the first time in this edition.
p. 1-186, Adam Mestyan : Primordial History, Print Capitalism, and Egyptology in Nineteenth-Century Cairo