An Early Doctrinal Controversy in the Iranian School of Ismaʿili Thought and Its Implications

in Journal of Persianate Studies
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Abstract

The controversy stemmed from Nasafi’s Ketāb al-Mahsul, wherein he introduced a pre-Fārābian version of Neo-Platonism into Ismaʿili cosmology, adapting it to Shiʿi-Ismaʿili doctrines. It provoked a sharp reaction among the Ismaʿili missionaries of Khorasan. Rāzi, an accomplished theologian and Nasafi’s contemporary, wrote his Ketāb al-Eslāh mending Nasafi’s errors. This led Sejestāni to defend the views of his teacher Nasafi and rebut Rāzi’s arguments in his Ketāb al-Nosra. Kermāni tried to reconcile the debate from a vantage point of post-Fārābian philosophy in his Ketāb al-Riāz. The controversy demonstrates that even a difference of opinion concerning major doctrinal issues was tolerated and resolved by scholarly debate.

An Early Doctrinal Controversy in the Iranian School of Ismaʿili Thought and Its Implications

in Journal of Persianate Studies

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