The Theology of Abū l-Qāsim al-Balkhī/al-Kaʿbī (d. 319/931)


This is the first comprehensive monograph on the theology of Abū l-Qāsim al-Kaʿbī al-Balkhī (d. 319/931), a leading Muʿtazilī who flourished at the end of the Baghdādī school and at the beginning of the scholastic phase of Muʿtazilī history. The study of al-Kaʿbī’s theology has been hindered by historiographical barriers: the fragmentary nature of extant articles, and the difficulties of reconstructing their contexts. This work investigates the twofold challenge of recovering al-Kaʿbī’s theology on the basis of a source-critical reconstruction of major extant fragments. One result of this study positions al-Kaʿbī’s theology as influenced less by the precepts of a Baghdādī school, and guided more by his individual views and affinity for earlier independent Muʿtazilī positions. Another result not only corroborates al-Kaʿbī’s previously noted contributions in epistemology and cosmology, but also argues for their centrality to his theology as a whole.

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Racha el Omari, Ph.D. (2006), Yale University, is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara.
"... el Omari has accomplished something of great importance: she has opened a window onto the 9th and 10th Centuries. Her eloquent analysis, generous and clear sourcing of material, and concentrated argumentation are representative of the best writing on kalām; it is this sort of work which will install Mu'tazilite thought upon the stage of the history of philosophy." - David Bennett, in: Marginalia Los Angeles Review of Books (2019)
All interested in the history of Muʿtazilism, dialectical theology (ʿim al-kalām), Islamic intellectual history, and the formative period of Islamic thought.
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