In this Book

summary
Ismailism, one of the three major branches of Shiism, is best known for taʾwῑl, an esoteric, allegorizing scriptural exegesis. Beyond the Qurʾān: Early Ismaili taʾwῑl and the Secrets of the Prophets is the first book-length study of this interpretive genre. Analyzing sources composed by tenth-century Ismaili missionaries in light of social-science theories of cognition and sectarianism, David Hollenberg argues that the missionaries used taʾwῑl to instill in acolytes a set of symbolic patterns, forms, and “logics.” This shared symbolic world bound the community together as it created a gulf between community members and those outside the movement. Hollenberg thus situates ta’wil socially, as an interpretive practice that sustained a community of believers. An important aspect of taʾwῑl is its unconventional objects of interpretation. Ismaili missionaries mixed Qurʾānic exegesis with interpretation of Torah, Gospels, Greek philosophy, and symbols such as the Christian Cross and Eucharist, as well as Jewish festivals. Previously scholars have speculated that this extra- Qurʾānic taʾwῑl was intended to convert Jews and Christians to Ismailism. Hollenberg, departing from this view, argues that such interpretations were, like Ismaili interpretations of the Qurʾān, intended for an Ismaili audience, many of whom converted to the movement from other branches of Shiism. Hollenberg argues that through exegesis of these unconventional sources, the missionaries demonstrated that their imam alone could strip the external husk from all manner of sources and show the initiates reality in its pure, unmediated form, an imaginal world to which they alone had access. They also fulfilled the promise that their imam would teach them the secrets behind all religions, a sign that the initial stage of the end of days had commenced. Beyond the Qurʾān contributes to our understanding of early Ismaili doctrine, Fatimid rhetoric, and, more broadly, the use of esoteric literatures in the history of religion.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Half Title, Title Page, Copyright
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Preface
  2. pp. vii-xii
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xiii-xiv
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Abbreviations
  2. pp. xv-xvi
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter 1. Competing Islands of Salvation: The Early Ismā⁽īlī Mission, 870–975
  2. pp. 1-35
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter 2. Ismā⁽īlī Ta⁾wīl and Da⁽wa Literature
  2. pp. 36-52
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter 3. Rearing
  2. pp. 53-78
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter 4. Beyond the Qur⁾ān: Prophecy, Scriptures, Signs
  2. pp. 79-99
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter 5. The Torah’s Imāms
  2. pp. 100-125
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Epilogue: After the End of Days—From Imminent to Immanent Apocalypticism
  2. pp. 126-130
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Appendix: Abbreviated Titles of Dated Sources Used in Chapter 3, “Rearing”
  2. pp. 131-132
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 133-152
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 153-172
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 173-176
  3. restricted access Download |

Additional Information

ISBN
9781611176797
Related ISBN
9781611176780
MARC Record
OCLC
958625709
Pages
192
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Language
English
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.