Scripturalist Islam

The History and Doctrines of the Akhbārī Shīʿī School


The Akhbārī School dominated the intellectual landscape of Imāmī Shiʿism between the Seventeenth and early Nineteenth Centuries. Its principal doctrines involved a reliance on scripture (primarily the sayings or akhbār of the Shiʿite Imams) and a rejection of the rational exegetical techniques which had become orthodox doctrine in Imāmī theology and law. However, the Akhbārīs were not simple literalists, as they are at times portrayed in secondary literature. They developed a complex theory of exegesis in which texts could be interpreted, whilst at the same time remaining doggedly committed to the ability of the revelatory texts to provide answers to theological and legal questions arising within the Shīʿī community. This book is the first in-depth study of the intellectual development and historical influence of the Akhbārī School.

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Robert Gleave, PhD (1996) in Islamic Studies, University of Manchester, is Professor of Arabic Studies at the University of Exeter, UK. He has published extensively on Shi'ism, focusing on Twelver Shi'ite legal hermeneutics.
Received the World Prize for the Book of the Year as "One of the best new works in the field of Islamic studies" by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2009.
"Es bleibt abschließend lediglich, dem Autor zu danken, uns die Resultate von einer Dekade Forschung in einer ungemein dichten, aber aufgrund ihrer Systematik doch hervorragend lesbaren Arbeit zugänglich gemacht zu haben. Diese möge dem zu Verengung neigendem Blick hinsichtlich der zwölferschiitischen Geistes- und Kulturgeschichte als ein wichtiges Gegengewicht dienen und zu vergegenwärtigen helfen, dass auch hier die Welt nicht schwarz-weiß, sondern wesentlich facettenreicher ist." - Jan-Peter Hartung, Sehepunkte
“…an excellent and important book that makes a signal advance in knowledge of the history and content of the Akhbārī movement.” - Devin Stewart, in: Orientalistische Literaturzeitung 110.2 (2015), 148-150 (DOI: 10.1515/olzg-2015-0053)
All those interested in the development of Imāmī Shī'ī thought, Safavid Iranian intellectual history and Islamic law more generally.
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