Theology and Society in the Second and Third Centuries of the Hijra. Volume 3

A History of Religious Thought in Early Islam


Theology and Society is the most comprehensive study of Islamic intellectual and religious history, focusing on Muslim theology. With its emphasis on the eighth and ninth centuries CE, it remains the most detailed prosopographical study of the early phase of the formation of Islam. Originally published in German between 1991 and 1995, Theology and Society is a monument of scholarship and a unique scholarly enterprise which has stood the test of time as an unparalleled reference work.

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Josef van Ess, Emeritus Professor of Islamic Studies and Semitic Languages, University of Tübingen, Germany, has published widely on the History of the Islamic World; Islamic theology and philosophy, especially with respect to the formative period (8th-10th centuries) and the age of the Mongol conquests (13th-14th centuries); and Islamic mysticism. His most famous work is Theologie und Gesellschaft in 6 volumes (de Gruyter 1991-97), the first four volumes of which are now being published in English by Brill.

Gwendolin Goldbloom (1969) has produced English translations of several books and a number of articles in the field of Islamic Studies, most of them originally published in German.

The Unification of Islamic Thought and the Flowering of Theology

1 Baghdad
 1.1 Local Tradition. Madāʾin
 1.2 Religious Policy Under al-Manṣūr and al-Mahdī
 1.3 The Rise of the Muʿtazila
 1.4 The Time Following the Fall of the Barmakids

2 Divided Empire and Civil War
 2.1 The Uprising of Abū l-Sarāyā
 2.2 Ma‌ʾmūn and ʿAlī al-Riḍā
 2.3 Theologians with Ties to al-Ma‌ʾmūn. Thumāma b. Ashras
 2.4 The Anti-Caliphate of Ibrāhīm b. al-Mahdī
 2.5 Ma‌ʾmūn’s Return to Baghdad

3 Al-Ma‌ʾmūn in Baghdad. The Flowering of Muʿtazilite Theology
 3.1 Ma‌ʾmūn’s Intellectual Profile. Intellectual Life at Court in Baghdad
 3.2 The Great Muʿtazilite Systematists
 3.3 The miḥna

Supplementary Remarks

All interested in Middle Eastern history and history of religion.