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In Arabic Oration: Art and Function, a narrative richly infused with illustrative texts and original translations, Tahera Qutbuddin presents a comprehensive theory of this preeminent genre in its foundational oral period, 7th-8th centuries AD. With speeches and sermons attributed to the Prophet Muḥammad, ʿAlī, other political and military leaders, and a number of prominent women, she assesses types of orations and themes, preservation and provenance, structure and style, orator-audience authority dynamics, and, with the shift from an oral to a highly literate culture, oration’s influence on the medieval chancery epistle. Probing the genre’s echoes in the contemporary Muslim world, she offers sensitive tools with which to decode speeches by mosque-imams and political leaders today.
A Cross-National, Inter-Faith, and Inter-Ethnic Analysis
In Religious Fundamentalism in the Middle East, Moaddel and Karabenick analyze fundamentalist beliefs and attitudes across nations (Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia), faith (Christianity and Islam), and ethnicity (Azari-Turks, Kurds, and Persians among Iranians), using comparative survey data. For them, fundamentalism is not just a set of religious beliefs. It is rather a set of beliefs about and attitudes toward whatever religious beliefs one has. In this analysis, the authors show that fundamentalist beliefs and attitudes vary across national contexts and individual characteristics, and predict people's orientation toward the same set of historical issues that were the concerns of fundamentalist intellectual leaders and activists. The authors' analysis reveals a "cycle of spirituality" that reinforces the critical importance of taking historical and cultural contexts into consideration to understand the role of religious fundamentalism in contemporary Middle Eastern societies.
Reprenant à nouveaux frais la question de l'autorité religieuse, ce livre présente différents cas d'étude en Asie centrale, à travers l'Empire ottoman, dans les Balkans et en Turquie. Sont examinés les rapports complexes qu'entretiennent, avec le pouvoir politique, cheikhs soufis, oulémas, sheikh ul-islâm, hégoumènes, ou encore clergé latin à l'époque prémoderne. Les XXe et XXIe siècles sont analysés du point de vue des transformations de l'autorité religieuse, certes fragmentée mais vigoureuse, en particulier chez les réformistes musulmans bosniaques et les Bektashis albanais, également parmi les Alévis d'Anatolie ou bien dans le soufisme féminin à Istanbul. Il apparaît que l'autorité religieuse dépasse le seul cadre des autorités traditionnelles et se heurte sans cesse à des limites théologiques, politiques, sociales ou institutionnelles.

Ont contribué/contributors include: Elisabetta Borromeo, Xavier Bougarel, Rachida Chih, Nathalie Clayer, Jérôme Cler, Benoît Fliche, Anna Neubauer, Alexandre Papas, Nicolas Vatin, Gilles Veinstein.

Reconsidering the question of religious authority, L'autorité religieuse et ses limites en terres d'islam offers various case studies located in Central Asia, throughout the Ottoman Empire, in the Balkans and in Turkey. The present volume discusses the complex relationships between political power and religious authorities, such as Sufi shaykhs, ulamas, sheikh ul-islâm, hegumens, and the latin clergy in the premodern period. The 20th and 21th centuries are analysed from the perspective of the transformation of religious authority - certainly fragmented but vigorous - among the Bosnian Muslim Reformists, the Albanian Bektashis, the Alevis of Anatolia, and in female Sufism in Istanbul. It appears that religious authority is not limited to traditional authorities and is continuously confronted with limits, whether theological, political, social or institutional.