Raḍī al-Dī Ibn ṭāwūs (d. 664/1266 in Bagdad) was a major figure in the history of Shī'ī thought. He published works on subjects ranging from tradition (ḥadīth) and polemics to history and astrology. Ibn ṭāwūs was an avid bibliophile, and his various writings contain remarkably detailed information about the books that he owned or read.
Kohlberg's book is divided into two main parts. The first surveys the life, working methods and literary output of Ibn ṭāwūs and offers an extended analysis of his library. The second part is an annotated list of all the works (some 660 in number) cited by Ibn ṭāwūs in his available writings. About a third of these works (both Sunnī and Shī'ī) are not extant, and even the existence of some of them has hitherto not been known. The works cover a wide range of subjects, including Qur'ānic exegesis, tradition, history, theology, astronomy and genealogy, and provides a detailed picture of the intellectual world of a medieval Muslim scholar.
Prof. Kohlberg is a leading authority on Shī'ism, and his monograph is an unusual and important contribution both to the history of Islam and to the history of Arabic literature and science.