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Title: The journey of an Ottoman warrior dervish : the Hızırname (Book of Khidr) sources and reception
Author: Kocaer, Sibel
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 8174
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis examines a work of considerable significance for early Anatolian Turkish literature and Ottoman history, the Divan-ı Şeyh Muhyiddin (880/1476), written by Şeyh Mehmed Çelebi (d. 898/1493-4) who was a sheikh at the Zeyni dervish lodge in Egirdir. In scholarship the work is known as the Hızırname (Book of Khidr), although this was not the title given by the author himself. The text narrates the travels of a warrior dervish figure in the heavenly realm and to various territories on Earth under the guidance or the spiritual blessing (himmet) of Khidr. Another important figure of Ottoman sufism, Hacı Bektaş, also plays a prominent role in some sections of the narrative, especially as he appoints the dervish the head of the Ottoman army. The dervish defeats the enemy in a battle on the Eastern borders of the Ottoman Empire. Even though the Hızırname has been presented as unique in Turkish literature in terms of genre and content, not much attention has been paid to its particular characteristics. This thesis reassesses this claim in the light of recent scholarship and identifies the main strands of a wide range of textual references to other sources. Amongst the peculiar features of the Hızırname that this study focuses on and examines are two intertwined aspects of the text - the identity of the narrator, who is the protagonist himself, and variations in the route of the journey. The ascension (miraj) journey of the dervish figure, accompanied by Khidr, and the narration of this journey by the first-person narrator, distinguish the Hızırname from similar Anatolian Turkish works. This study proposes that these special features of the Hızırname relate the text to Ishraqi literature, and to the writings of Ibn 'Arabi and his followers in Anatolia. Hacı Bektaş on the other hand, having a political role in the Hızırname, links this text to the frontier literature of the warriors. Having been written in Egirdir, a frontier Muslim border zone between the Ottomans and the Karamanids, and in the vicinity of Konya, the Hızırname combines the literature of both frontier regions and dervish lodges within one text, as represented by the warrior dervish, namely 'eren', identity of the poet.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral