Alex Matthews


Martin Marty Center Fellow

My dissertation focuses on a 10th century text from Islamic North Africa during the rule of the Fatimids. It is noteworthy for its engagement with the "occult sciences"--astrology, letter mysticism, and divination, to name a few. While prior studies have focused on questions of authorship, authenticity, and dating, my dissertation examines what we might understand about the text itself when we set those questions aside as unanswerable with the currently available data. I undertake a study of a number of themes and terms that emerge as important in the text and put them in conversation with contemporaneous philosophical works, both from within and outside the Fatimid sphere of influence. 

As a medievalist, I often struggle with translating the relevance of my work to a broader audience, academic or otherwise! The Marty Center will allow me an opportunity to think deeply with the questions my work raises for those outside my immediate discipline.