This article (re-)introduces Risālat al-Bayān al-aẓhar, a short and by all appearances unfinished treatise by the Coptic scholar al-Rashīd Abū l-Khayr Ibn al-Ṭayyib (d. after 1270), to exemplify the pivotal role played by the works of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī during the ‘Renaissance’ of Copto-Arabic literature in the 13th and 14th centuries. Rāzī’s œuvre left its mark on both content and form of systematic religious thought in Eastern Christianity. Whilst the Risāla is available in a partial edition since 1938, it has never been studied so far. As we shall see, Ibn al-Ṭayyib’s critique of Rāzī’s deterministic concept of human agency as outlined in the Muḥaṣṣal came in an attempt to counteract what he perceived as a detrimental effect of the mounting popularity which Rāzī’s works enjoyed among contemporaneous Christian readers. The critique is based on a rich patchwork of sources that is characteristic of 13th century Copto-Arabic encyclopaedism.
A newly discovered fragment of al-Sharīf al-Murtaḍā’s K. al-Mulakhkhaṣ in Hebrew script further substantiates that the works of this pre-eminent Imāmī scholar were of paramount importance to the circle of scholars associated with the Qaraite Dār al-ʿilm in 11th century Jerusalem.
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This article examines various types of evidence that might corroborate or confound a direct influence of Qaraite Arabic translations of the Pentateuch on Arabic translations of the Samaritan Pentateuch. This question has barely been addressed in previous research. In a first step I will summarise the little we know about the emergence of the earliest Arabic translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch and adduce four reasons to explain why the influence of Qaraite translations has not been considered so far and why some scholars argued for a strong, even though well-camouflaged influence of Saʿadyah Gaon’s Tafsīr on the earliest versions of the Samaritan translation. In a second step I will highlight a few instances of literary contacts between Qaraites and Samaritans during the 11th through 13th centuries which might strengthen the case for a Qaraite influence on Samaritan translations. Thirdly, I will pick out some distinguishing features of the Old Arabic Translation of the Samaritan Pentateuch (OATSP) as laid down in previous studies and compare them with the primary features of Qaraite Arabic translations. A synoptic presentation of Gen 24:1–34 and some other texts in Samaritan and Qaraite translations and Saʿadyah’s Tafsīr will help to illustrate the relationship between these translation traditions and to reach some preliminary and tentative conclusions.
The Zaydīs in Yemen are the only current within Islam that fostered the continuous transmission and study of Muʿtazilī kalām up to the present time. This article aims to examine the presence and quality of Muʿtazilī kalām in a major Zaydī composition of the 20th century, namely ʿAlī b. Muḥammad al-ʿAǧrī’s (1320-1407/1902-1987) Miftāḥ al-saʿāda, which was completed in May 1952. The Miftāḥ and other works of Zaydī scholars written during the first half of the 20th century provide us with valuable insights into Zaydī-Hādawī scholarship in Northern Yemen prior to the Republican revolution of 1962 and furnish important information about the education of 20th century Zaydī-Hādawī scholars and the contents of their libraries. The wide range of Muʿtazilī and non-Muʿtazilī sources used and quoted in the Miftāḥ sheds light on the distinct impact of various phases of a centuries-old school- and teaching-tradition.