Formation of a Religious Landscape: Shi‘i Higher Learning in Safavid Iran

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In Formation of a Religious Landscape: Shi‘i Higher Learning in Safavid Iran, Maryam Moazzen offers the first systematic examination of Shi‘i educational institution and practices by exploring the ways in which religious knowledge was produced, authenticated, and transmitted in the second half of Safavid rule (1588-1722). By analyzing the deeds of endowment of the Madrasa-yi Sulṭānī and other mosque-madrasas built by the Safavid elite, this study sheds light on the organizing mechanisms and structures utilized by such educational foundations. Based on the large number of ijazās and other primary sources including waqfiyyas, biographical dictionaries and autobiographies, this study also reconstructs the Safavid madrasas’ curriculum and describes the pedagogical methods used to transmit religious knowledge as well as issues that faced Shi‘i higher learning in early modern times.
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Biographical Note

Maryam Moazzen, Ph.D. (2011), University of Toronto and Ph.D. University of Tehran (1999), is Assistant Professor in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Louisville. She has published several book chapters and articles in Iranian Studies and Studia Iranica.

Table of contents

Preface
Acknowledgements
Note on Transliteration and Style

Introduction
 Imperializing Twelver Shiʿism and Its Impact on Shiʿi Higher Learning
 The Reaction of the Sunni ʿUlamāʾ
 Madrasas and the Consolidation of Shiʿism in Persia
 The Permissibility of Collaborating with Temporal Power
 Shiʿi Higher Learning in Safavid Iran

1 Mosque-Madrasas of Safavid Isfahan
 Pre-Safavid Mosque-Madrasas
 Safavid Mosques and Madrasas
 After ʿAbbās the Great
 The Largest Shiʿi Madrasa
 Conclusion

2 The Madrasa-yi Sulṭānī: Waqfs, Administrative Structure, and Academic Life
 Shāh Sulṭān Ḥusayn’s Objectives in Establishing the Madrasa-yi Sulṭānī
 The Deeds of Endowment of the Madrasa-yi Sulṭānī
 Analysis of the Endowed Properties
 The Administrative Structure of the Madrasa-yi Sulṭānī
 Conclusion

3 Reshaping Shiʿa Cultural Memory: Commemorative Rituals and Constructing Identity
 Contextualizing Cultural Memory
 Safavid Madrasas and Commemorating Cultural Memory
 The Instructional Values of Commemorative Rituals
 Madrasas and Social Coherence
 Reconfiguring Cultural Memory
 Conclusion

4 The Safavid Curriculum: Conflicting Visions, Contested Triumphs
 Safavid Scholars and the Concept of Knowledge (ʿilm)
 Towards Reconstructing the Curriculum of the Safavid Madrasas
 The Uṣūlīs and the Curriculum
 The Curriculum of the Madrasas of Safavid Isfahan
 Akhbarism and Its Impact on the Safavid Curriculum
 The Curriculum of Safavid Madrasas during the Reign of Shāh Sulṭān Ḥusayn
 Conclusion

5 Engagement with Religious Knowledge: Dialogical and Hermeneutical Modes of Transmission
 Safavid Pedagogy: Legal Rationalization or Authentic Knowledge
 Teaching and Learning Methods
 The Place of Texts in Learning and Etiquette Pertinent to Writing and Shelving Books
 Teachers and Learning
 The Language of Instruction
 Travel in Pursuit of Knowledge
 Studying and Marriage
 Graduation
 Conclusion

6 Safavid Pedagogical Approaches: Theories, Application, and Practices
 Mullā Ṣadrā and the Problem of Conventional (rasmī) Learning
 Muḥsin Fayḍ Kāshānī and Epistemic Certitude
 Muḥaqqiq Sabzawārī’s Review of Safavid Higher Learning
 Muḥammad Zamān Tabrīzī’s Observations
 Conclusion

Conclusion

Appendix
Bibliography
Index of Places
Index of Subjects and Terms
Index of Persons

Readership

All interested in Islamic intellectual history, Twelver Shi‘ism, Islamic higher learning, the politics of Safavid Iran, and more general questions pertaining to the historical role of religious and cultural traditions and institutions.

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