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Beyond the Qurʾān: Early Ismāʿῑlῑ Taʾwῑl and the Secrets of by David Hollenberg

By David Hollenberg

Ismailism, one of many 3 significant branches of Shiism, is healthier recognized for taʾwῑl, an esoteric, allegorizing scriptural exegesis. past the Qurʾān: Early Ismaili taʾwῑl and the secrets and techniques of the Prophets is the 1st book-length learn of this interpretive style. studying resources composed by way of tenth-century Ismaili missionaries in gentle of social-science theories of cognition and sectarianism, David Hollenberg argues that the missionaries used taʾwῑl to instill in acolytes a suite of symbolic styles, varieties, and “logics.” This shared symbolic global sure the neighborhood jointly because it created a gulf among neighborhood participants and people open air the move. Hollenberg therefore situates ta’wil socially, as an interpretive perform that sustained a group of believers.

An vital point of taʾwῑl is its unconventional items of interpretation. Ismaili missionaries combined Qurʾānic exegesis with interpretation of Torah, Gospels, Greek philosophy, and emblems resembling the Christian pass and Eucharist, in addition to Jewish fairs. formerly students have speculated that this additional- Qurʾānic taʾwῑl used to be meant to transform Jews and Christians to Ismailism. Hollenberg, departing from this view, argues that such interpretations have been, like Ismaili interpretations of the Qurʾān, meant for an Ismaili viewers, lots of whom switched over to the circulate from different branches of Shiism.

Hollenberg argues that via exegesis of those unconventional resources, the missionaries validated that their imam on my own might strip the exterior husk from all demeanour of assets and convey the initiates fact in its natural, unmediated shape, an imaginal global to which they by myself had entry. additionally they fulfilled the promise that their imam might educate them the secrets and techniques at the back of all religions, an indication that the preliminary level of the tip of days had commenced.

Beyond the Qurʾān contributes to our figuring out of early Ismaili doctrine, Fatimid rhetoric, and, extra greatly, using esoteric literatures within the historical past of religion.

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