Ibn Taymiyya's Theodicy of Perpetual Optimism

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The Muslim jurist Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328) is famous for polemic against Islamic philosophy, theology and rationalizing mysticism, but his positive theological contribution has not been well understood. This comprehensive study of Ibn Taymiyya’s theodicy helps to rectify this lack. Exposition and analysis of Ibn Taymiyya’s writings on God’s justice and wise purpose, divine determination and human agency, the problem of evil, and juristic method in theological doctrine show that he articulates a theodicy of optimism in which God in His essence perpetually wills the best possible world from eternity. This sets Ibn Taymiyya’s theodicy apart from Ashʿarī divine voluntarism, the free-will theodicy of the Muʿtazilīs, and the essentially timeless God of other optimists like Ibn Sīnā and Ibn ʿArabī.
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Biographical Note

Jon Hoover, Ph.D. (2002) in Islamic Studies, University of Birmingham, is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at the Near East School of Theology, Beirut. He has published articles on the theology of Ibn Taymiyya and Christian-Muslim comparative theology.

Review Quotes

"....essential reading for all scholars working
on any aspect of Ibn Taymiyya’s thought, or on questions of free will and predetermination in Islamic tradition."
Yossef Rapoport,
Queen Mary University of London

Table of contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Worship, Religious Epistemology and Theological Jurisprudence
God’s Wise Purpose, Perpetual Activity and Self-Sufficiency
God’s Creation and God’s Command
God’s Creation of Acts in the Human Agent
The Wise Purpose and Origin of Evil
The Justice of God and the Best of All Possible
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index

Readership

All those interested in Islamic philosophy, theology and jurisprudence, intellectual history in the Mamlūk Sultanate, backgrounds of contemporary Muslim theological debate, the philosophical problem of evil, and comparative theological studies.

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