Muhsin Mahdi was an Iraqi-American Islamologist and Arabist. He was a leading authority on Arabian history, philology, and philosophy. His greatest achievement was the first critical edition of the Arabic text of the One Thousand and One Nights, published by Brill (Leiden) in 1984.
His choice of copytext – the c. 14th century Syrian ms. used by Antoine Galland as the basis for his 1704-17 French translation – has proved controversial, but no-one can question the seminal importance of his work.
- Ibn Khaldun's Philosophy of History: A Study in the Philosophical Foundation of the Science of Culture. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1957.
- [Ed., with Ralph Lerner]: Medieval Political Philosophy: A Sourcebook. New York: Collier-Macmillan Limited, 1963.
- [Ed.]: The Thousand and One Nights (Alf Layla wa Layla). 2 vols. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1984.
- The Arabian Nights: Based on the Text of the Fourteenth-Century Syrian Manuscript edited by Muhsin Mahdi. Trans. Husain Haddawy. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1990.
- The Thousand and One Nights. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995.
- Alfarabi and the Foundation of Islamic Political Philosophy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.
- [Trans]: Alfarabi. Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2002.
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