JEVDET PASHA (b. Lofça [Lovech, central Bulgaria], 1237/1823; d. Istanbul, 2 Ḏu’l-Ḥejja 1312/26 May 1895), Ottoman writer, historian, jurist, and statesman. His original name was Ahmed (Aḥmad), but he became known under the name Jevdet, which was given to him by his tutor Süleyman Fehim Efendi (d. 1846) in 1843. After finishing primary school in Lofça (modern Lovech), he came to Istanbul in 1839 to continue his studies. He studied theology, mathematics, geology, astronomy, and Arabic literature in several madrasas. He studied the Persian language with Mehmed Murad Efendi (d. 1848) and Süleyman Fehim Efendi (d. 1845) and also studied the divāns of ʿOrfi (d. 1591) and Šowkat (d. 1695-96). In 1260/1844 he was granted the permission (ejāzat-nāma) to teach the Maṯnawi of Mowlānā Jalāl-al-Din Rumi. In January 1844 Jevdet was offered a position as a judge (qāżi). In 1846 he became the teacher of children of the Prime Minister (Ṣadr-Aʿẓām) Mustafa Rešid Pasha (1800-58), which was a turning point in Jevdet’s life and career. Gradually his scientific and scholarly work was taken over by political activities and governmental service. After having held various posts, he became the official state historian (wāqeʿa-nevis) in 1855. In 1857 he started his legal career, which he would continue until his death. He successfully accomplished many highly important official tasks. He made a major contribution to the establishment of a new Ottoman legal system and to the publication of the Majalla, the Ottoman law-book. Jevdet died in Istanbul on 2 Ḏu’l-Hejja 1312/26 May 1895.
Jevdet Pasha mastered Arabic, Persian, French, and Bulgarian. He wrote more than twenty important books on history, law, grammar, linguistics, logic, and astronomy (for a list of Jevdet Pasha’s works see Halaçoğlu and Aydın, 1993, pp. 448-49). Besides, he also completed a Turkish commentary for the Persian divān of Ṣāʾeb Tabrizi (d. 1675-76). This commentary, entitled Tatemma-ye šarḥ-e divān-e Ṣāʾeb, had been started by Jevdet’s tutor, Süleyman Fehim Efendi, who left it unfinished when he died in 1845 (he reached as far as the letter qāf). The work was composed according to the classical tradition of writing commentaries for poetic works: the major part of Ṣāʾeb’s divān and ḡazals (q.v.) are arranged in alphabetical order. The commentary deals not only with the meaning of the couplets, but also with questions of literary art, vocabulary, basic characteristics of inflexion, and grammar, and it is illustrated with samples of poetry. A manuscript of this work can be found at the Bayezid Devlet Library in Istanbul (Veliyüddin Efendi, MS 3302). The commentary by Süleyman Fehim Efendi is on fols. 1b-596b, and the continuation by Jevdet Pasha on fols. 596b-627b. This work has not yet been published.
Works: Ahmed Jevdet Pasha, Tarih-i Cevdet, 12 vols., Istanbul, 1891-92.
Idem, Tezâkir, ed. Cavid Baysun, 4 vols., Ankara, 1953-67, 2nd ed. 1986.
Idem, Ma’rûzât, ed. Yusuf Halaçoğlu, Istanbul, 1980.
Studies. Ahmed Cevdet Paşa Semineri, Istanbul, 1986.
Fatima Aliyye, Ahmed Cevdet Paşa ve zamanı, Istanbul, 1913-14.
M. Cavid Baysun, “Cevdet Paşa, şahsiyetine ve ilim sahasındaki faaliyetlerine dair,” Türkiyat Mecmuası 11, 1954, pp. 213-30.
H. Bowen, “Aḥmad Djewdet Pasha,” EI2 I, 1960, pp. 284-86.
Bursalı Meḥmed Ṭāhir, Osmanlı mü’ellifleri, 3 vols., Istanbul, 1914-28, vol. II, pp. 129-32.
A. Celepoğlu, “Cevdet Paşa,” Türk Dünyası Edebiyatçıları Ansiklopedisi II, Ankara, 2002, pp. 450-53.
Yusuf Halaçoğlu and M. Akif Aydın, “Cevdet Paşa,” Diyanet Vakfı İslâm Ansiklopedisi VII, 1993, pp. 443-50.
E. İhsanoğlu, R. Şeşen, C. İzgi, C. Akpınar, and İ. Fazlıoğlu, Osmanlı astronomi literatürü tarihi, ed. E. İhsanoğlu, 2 vols., Istanbul, 1997, vol. II, pp. 665-69.
Ahmet Zeki İzgöer, Ahmet Cevdet Paşa, Istanbul, 1999. Bekir Kütükoğlu, “Tarihçi Cevdet Paşa,” in Vekâyi’nüvis, Makaleler, Istanbul, 1994, pp. 367-73.
Ebü’l-Ulâ Mardin, Medenî hukuk cephesinden Ahmed Cevdet Paşa, Istanbul, 1946.
Ümid Meriç, Cevdet Paşa’nın cemiyet ve devlet görüşü, Istanbul, 1975.
Ch. K. Neumann, Das indirekte Argument: ein Plädoyer für die Tanzīmāt vermittels der Historie; die geschichtliche Bedeutung von Ahmed Cevdet Paşa’s Ta’rih, Munich, 1992.
Idem, “Ahmed Cevdet Paşa’nın tarihçiliğine yansıyan zihniyet dünyası,” in Osmanlı’dan Cumhuriyet’e Problemler, Araştırmalar, Tartışmalar, Istanbul, 1998, pp. 64-71.
Ãli Ölmezoğlu, “Cevdet Paşa,” İslâm Ansiklopedisi III, 1945, pp. 114-23.
M. Şakir Ülkütaşır, Cevdet Paşa, hayatı, şahsiyeti, eserleri (1822-1895), Ankara, 1945.
March 9, 2009
(Osman G. Özgüdenli)
Originally Published: December 15, 2008
Last Updated: April 13, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. XIV, Fasc. 6, pp. 639-640