Theology and Society in the Second and Third Centuries of the Hijra. Volume 4

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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Biographical Note

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.

Table of contents

Preface  xii

part c : The Unification of Islamic Thought and the Flowering of Theology (continued)

4 Muʿtazilites during and after the miḥna  3
 4.1 Basra until the Middle of the Third Century  3
 4.2 Baghdad Muʿtazilites  63

5 Theologians on the Periphery of the Muʿtazila  139
5.1 ‘Murjiʾites’  140
 5.2 Najjār and His Circle  167
 5.3 Ibāḍite Theologians  195

6 The Argument over the Quran  203
 6.1 Ibn Kullāb  204
 6.2 Muḥāsibī  221
 6.3 Karābīsī and the Problem of the lafẓ al-Qurʾān  238

7 The Expansion of the Muʿtazila during the Third Century  258
 7.1 Iraq and the Jazira  259
 7.2 The Arabian Peninsula  261
 7.3 Syria  264
 7.4 Armenia  268
 7.5 Iran  271
 7.6 India  290
 7.7 The Maghrib  291
 7.8 Summary  311

8 The Crisis  312
 8.1 Baghdad Mysticism Goes its Own Way. Junayd and His Contemporaries  313
 8.2 The Self-Destruction of the Dialectical Method  325

Part D: Summary of the History of the Subject Matter

Introduction. The Topics of Theology  395

1 The Image of God  407
 1.1 God as the One  407
 1.2 Anthropomorphism  416
 1.3 Names and Attributes  476

2 The Image of the Human  535
2.1 Acting  538
2.2 Body and Spirit  572

3 Eschatology  605
 3.1 The Earthly and the Heavenly Paradise  613
3.2 The Extent of the Reality of the Otherworld  619

4 Faith  627
4.1 Sin and Penitence  645
4.2 The Prophet  658
4.3 Epistemology  716

5 Theology and Society  673
5.1 Political Theory  771
5.2 The Organisation of Teaching and Studying  798
5.3 Environment and Intellectual Structure  814


All interested in Middle Eastern history and history of religion.