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Holm Tetens attempts to define ‘god’ as part of his rational theology. The term ‘god’ is supposed to be defined as ‘the infinite I-subject’. This should be achieved through the customary definition of a singular term by description. However, definitions of this kind have to meet certain formal requirements, which a Rational Theology should adhere to. This paper aims to show that Tetens’ definition faces problems with these requirements since vital arguments are either missing or incomplete in a substantial way. In the process, possible approaches to remedy the outlined problems are hinted at. Overall, this paper raises the question of an alternative interpretation of his definition of god, which is central to the author’s project.

In: Grazer Philosophische Studien
Abu-I-Husayn al-Basri's Mu'tazili Theology among the Karaites in the Fatimid Age
Rational speculative theology (kalam) in early Islam was represented most distinctly by the theological school of the Mu‘tazila. Founded in Basra in the early 8th century, the school soon became predominant in theological scholarship and discourse and remained so until the early 11th century. The Mu‘tazila held that the basic truths of theology, such as the existence of God and the nature of His attributes and justice, are entirely subject to rational proof without the benefit of scriptural revelation. Only after these basic truths have been established can the veracity of scripture be proved by reason, and the primacy of reason must also maintained in the interpretation of scripture. Mu‘tazili theology naturally appealed to rationally inclined theologians of other scriptural religions and provided a suitable basis for inter-faith communication in the Islamic world. In Judaism Mu‘tazili thought was adopted to varying degrees from the 9th century on and reached a peak during the tenth century.
The Mu‘tazili world view and rational theology was facing increasing competition and criticism from philosophy of Greek origin, which claimed to provide the only scientific world view based on cogent logical demonstration independent of religious beliefs. Study of the philosophical sciences was mostly shunned in religious scholarship, but was an integral part of the education of the medical profession. Among Qadi ‘Abd al-Jabbar’s disciples in Rayy was for some time a young physician trained in the philosophical sciences, Abu l-Husayn al-Basri (d. 1044), who challenged some of his teaching in his lectures and went on to compose a massive critical review of the arguments and proofs used in kalam. His theological works were generally ignored among the Mu‘tazila and handed down among students of medicine. Only a century later his teaching was revived and espoused by the Mu‘tazili scholar Mahmud b. al-Malahimi in Khorezm in Central Asia and gained recognition as a school of Mu‘tazili theology.
The present study presents evidence that Abu l-Husayn’s theology was immediately registered and controversially debated in the Karaite community under the Fatimid caliphate. The study is based on source material preserved in Genizahs and now dispersed in libraries around the world.
Author: Chemparathy
The volume contains critical editions of the extant parts of two hitherto unknown theological works by the Būyid vizier al-Ṣāḥib b. ʿAbbād (d. 385/925), who is well known to have vigorously promoted the teaching of Muʿtazilī theology throughout Būyid territories and beyond. The manuscripts on which the edition is based come from Cairo Geniza store rooms. They consist of two manuscripts for each of the two texts—testimony to the impact of al-Ṣāḥib’s education policy on the contemporaneous Jewish community in Cairo. The longer treatise of al-Ṣāḥib of ca. 350/960, possibly his Kitāb Nahj al-sabīl fī uṣūl al-dīn, appears to be the earliest Muʿtazilī work preserved among the Jewish community. The second, briefer treatise also contains a commentary by ʿAbd al-Jabbār al-Hamadānī (d. 415/1025).
A Critical Edition of the Ziyādāt Sharḥ al-uṣūl by the Zaydī Imām al-Nāṭiq bi-l-ḥaqq Abū Ṭālib Yaḥyā b. al-Ḥusayn b. Hārūn al-Buṭḥānī (d. 424/1033)

were esteemed in different branches of learning in the center of the Ottoman empire. In this essay, I will focus on the works in the kalām (rational theology) section of the library. 5 The list of the books in this section, titled “Section on the Principles of Religion, i.e., Rational Theology

In: Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4) (2 vols)
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Das Kitāb al-Mu'aththirāt wa-miftāḥ al-muškilāt des Zayditen al-Ḥasan ar-Raṣṣāṣ (st. 584/1188)
Author: Jan Thiele
The importance of Zaydī sources for historical research on Muʿtazilī theology is generally acknowledged since the spectacular discoveries of unique manuscripts in Yemen in the 1950s. Yet the knowledge transfer and adoption of Muʿtazilī thought by the Yemeni Zaydiyya still remain an understudied field. Al-Ḥasan ar-Raṣṣāṣ (d. 1188) was one of the main promoters of Muʿtazilism in 6th/12th century Yemen. His works mainly focus on natural philosophy and include a systematic treatise on causality which is comprehensively examined and critically edited in this volume. The present study gives insight into a fascinating chapter of Islamic intellectual history and offers the first analysis of a Muʿtazilī theory of causality.

Die Bedeutung zayditischer Quellen für die Erforschung muʿtazilitischer Theologie ist spätestens seit der spektakulären Wiederentdeckung einzigartiger Handschriften im Jemen der 1950er Jahre allgemein anerkannt. Dennoch sind der Wissenstransfer und die Adaption muʿtazilitischen Denkens durch die jemenitische Zaydiyya bislang kaum erforscht. Al-Ḥasan ar-Raṣṣāṣ (st. 1188) war einer der wichtigsten Protagonisten dieses Prozesses im Jemen des 6./12. Jahrhunderts. Unter seinen zahlreichen Schriften zu naturphilosophischen Fragen findet sich auch ein systematisches Traktat zur Kausalität, welches im vorliegenden Buch umfassend untersucht und kritisch ediert wird. Die Studie gewährt Einblick in ein faszinierendes Kapitel islamischer Geistesgeschichte und analysiert erstmals eine muʿtazilitische Systematik zur Kausalität.
A Study and Edition of Sharaf al-Dīn al-Masʿūdī’s Commentary on the Ishārāt
Author: Ayman Shihadeh
In Doubts on Avicenna, Ayman Shihadeh brings to light an important new source, which marks a key moment of transition in twelfth-century Arabic philosophy. Sharaf al-Dīn al-Masʿūdī’s al-Mabāḥith wa-l-Shukūk ʿalā l-Ishārāt ( Investigations and Objections on the Pointers) offers major insight into the dialectic between the two traditions of Avicennan philosophy and rational theology, particularly Ashʿarism, which by the end of the century culminates in the systematic philosophical theology of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī. Inaugurating the long and distinguished commentarial tradition on Avicenna’s Ishārāt ( Pointers), al-Masʿūdī’s Shukūk uniquely consists of aporias on selected passages, as opposed to exegesis. This monograph provides an overview and the first critical edition of the text, and in-depth case studies of metaphysical aporias and their Avicennan background.