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Theology and Society in the Second and Third Century of the Hijra. A History of Religious Thought in Early Islam by Josef Van Ess (Août 2016)

Theology and Society in the Second and Third Century of the Hijra. A History (…)

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The author

Josef van Ess, Emeritus Professor of Islamic Studies and Semitic Languages, University of Tübingen, Germany, has published widely on the History of the Islamic World; Islamic theology and philosophy, especially with respect to the formative period (8th-10th centuries) and the age of the Mongol conquests (13th-14th centuries); and Islamic mysticism. His most famous work and is Theologie und Gesellschaft in 6 volumes (de Gruyter 1991-97), the first four volumes of which are now being published in English by Brill.


John O’Kane (1940) has been involved in various English translations of Arabic and Persian works to do with Sufism, and he has produced several English translation of works in the field of Islamic Studies originally published in German.

Titre initial: "Theologie und Gesellschaft im 2. und 3. Jahrhundert Hidschra : eine Geschichte des religiösen Denkens im frühen Islam. Band I", Walter de Gruyter, 1991.


Theology and Society is the most comprehensive study of Islamic intellectual and religious history, focusing on Muslim theology. With its emphasis on the eighth and ninth centuries CE, it remains the most detailed prosopographical study of the early phase of the formation of Islam. Originally published in German between 1991 and 1995, Theology and Society is a monument of scholarship and a unique scholarly enterprise which has stood the test of the time as an unparalleled reference work.

Table of contents
List of the Most Frequent Abbreviations

Prelude: Characteristics of Islamic Religiosity in the 1st Century
1. Setting the Seal on Prophecy
2. The Awareness of Being Chosen and Identity Formation
2.1 Symbols of Islamic Identity in the Caliphate of ʿAbd al-Malik
2.2 Early Evidence in the Literary Tradition
3. Community and Individual
3.1 Faith and the Promise of Paradise
3.2 Consciousness of Sin and Individual Responsibility
3.3 Divine Grace and Predestination
4. Specific Religious Developments Around the Turn of the 2nd Century
4.1 The Image of the Prophet
4.2 The Koran
5. The Spread of the Faith
5.1 The Literary Instruments for Conveying the Faith
5.1.1 The Creation of Dialectical Theology
5.1.2 The Prospect

The Islamic Provinces in the 2nd Century
0. Introductory Remark on Methodology
1. Syria
1.0 General Basic Features
1.1 The Relationship with the Shīʿa
1.2 The Qadariyya
1.2.1 The Question of Origin
1.2.2 Ghaylān al-Dimashqī and His Environment
1.2.3 Ghaylān’s Aftereffect
1.2.4 Yazīd III’s Putsch Yazīd III’s Accession Sermon Further Developments up to the Time of Marwān II
1.2.5 The Qadarites under Yazīd III Damascus Qadarites from Palestine Qadarites from Ḥimṣ
1.2.6 Later Qadarites
1.2.7 General Conclusions
1.2.8 The Further Iraqi Development of Ghaylān’s Doctrine The Epistles of Ghaylān and the Ghaylān Legend
1.2.9 ʿUmar II and the Qadariyya
1.3 A Case of Heresy
1.4 Syrian Murjiʾites
1.4.1 “Jahmites”
1.5 From Asceticism to Mysticism

2. Iraq
2.0 Preliminary General Remarks
2.1 Kūfa
2.1.1 The Murjiʾa The Oldest Representatives of the Murjiʾa in Kūfa The Delegation to ʿUmar II Two Murjiʾite Poems The Polemic Against the Murjiʾa in the Sīrat Sālim b. Dhakwān The K. al-Irjāʾ The Spectrum of the Murjiʾa up to 150 Hijrī The Circle of Abū Ḥanīfa The Precursors On the Life and Aftereffects of Abū Ḥanīfa Abū Ḥanīfa’s Theological Views The Letter to ʿUthmān al-Battī Comparison with Other Early Ḥanafite Writings A Second Letter to ʿUthmān al-Battī The So-Called Fiqh akbar (I) The Image of God. The Political Theory Contemporaries of Abū Ḥanīfa The Kūfan Murjiʾa after Abū Ḥanīfa The Reform of Ghassān b. Aban
2.1.2 Anti-Murjiʾite Currents in Kūfa Sufyān al-Thawrī Ṣūfīs Qadarites
2.1.3 The Shīʿa “Shīʿitizing” Traditionists The Zaydiyya The Butriyya The “Weak” Zaydīs The Jārūdiyya The Shaping of Jārūdite Thought Later Development Early Zaydī Splinter Groups The Kāmiliyya The Rawāfiḍ Quietism and and Communal Spirit The Imam as Omniscient Leader The Return (rajʿa) The Idea of rajʿa Among the Early Zaydīs The Adherents of rajʿa Among the Shīʿite Authorities of the 1st Century Early Shīʿite Tafsīr as a Possible Purveyor of the Idea of rajʿa The Decline of the Kaysāniyya The Change of the Idea of rajʿa in the Imāmiyya Rejection of the First Two Caliphs Maintaining Secrecy (taqiyya) God Changing His Mind (badāʾ) Rāfiḍite Theological Schools The Beginnings Pro-Murjiʾite Groups Zurāra b. Aʿyan and His Circle The Discussion About God’s Image The Next Generation Shayṭān al-Ṭāq and Hishām al-Jawālīqī Hishām b. al-Ḥakam “Ontology” The Concept of God Natural-Scientific Questions The Theory of Perception Human Action The Divine Atrributes The Koran and Prophecy ʿIṣma and naṣṣ Excursus: Means of Legitimation within the Shīʿa Rajʿa ʿAlī Riʾāb The Succession to the Big Theologians The School of Hishām al-Jawālīqī The School of Hishām b. al-Ḥakam The Prospect General Conclusions Rāfiḍite Theology and Its Milieu. Stoic and Jewish Influences
2.1.4 The Khārijites The Ibāḍite Community in Kūfa ʿĪsā b. ʿUmayr
2.1.5 “The Heretics” The Term zindīq Manicheanism in the Early Islamic Period Zandaqa as a Social and Religious Phenomenon The Dayṣāniyya The Marcionites The Kantaeans Excursus: Mazdakites in the Islamic World The zandaqa in Kūfa (….) Cosmology and Natural Philosophy Polite Society Arguing with the zanādiqa According to Imāmite Sources The Role of the zanādiqa in the Later Umayyad Period

Supplementary remarks
Genealogical table

View online : Brill (Editor)