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In: Oriente Moderno
In: Explorations in the Social History of Modern Central Asia (19th - Early 20th Century)
In: Explorations in the Social History of Modern Central Asia (19th - Early 20th Century)
In: Explorations in the Social History of Modern Central Asia (19th - Early 20th Century)
In: Explorations in the Social History of Modern Central Asia (19th - Early 20th Century)
In: Explorations in the Social History of Modern Central Asia (19th - Early 20th Century)
In: Explorations in the Social History of Modern Central Asia (19th - Early 20th Century)
Author: Paolo Sartori

Abstract

In this article, I want to suggest that what today is known as “entexting” in the Western historiography of Islamic law did not just originate from colonialism. Emphasis on a self-contained number of jurisprudential texts was in fact one of the outcomes of a profound process of transformation in the Islamic legal episteme among the Muslim communities of Central Eurasia. One of the forces behind such a transformation can be identified in what Sheldon Pollock has termed “vernacularization” – that is, a shift toward the popularization of a cosmopolitan body of scholarship through the medium of translation into local languages. The act of translation itself reflected the effort to select, domesticate, and naturalize, specific juristic texts, the contents of which were perceived as important, though equally inaccessible. Translation led to distinction and preferment. It also brought about a process of “debasement”, i.e., a movement toward the decontextualization of Islamic jurisprudential writing traditions and their reworking into original works written in the vernacular Turkic, which blended the genre of creeds with jurisprudence.

In: Die Welt des Islams