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Authors: Anderson, Skyler
Advisors: Tannous, Jack
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: Islamic tradition
People of the Book
Subjects: History
Islamic studies
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation is an attempt to understand the ways Muslim scholars in the 2nd/8th-8th/14th centuries renegotiated their relationship with the traditions they associated with the People of the Book. In Chapter One I map out a discourse on “Jewish and Christian” knowledge via the term isrāʾīliyyāt. I make the case that the discourse surrounding isrāʾīliyyāt was also an extension of an earlier discourse over traditions of the Children of Israel. I argue that these connected discourses served to differentiate Jewish and Christian knowledge, impacting the transmission and reception of this information by Muslim scholars. In Chapter Two I follow this thread into the world of legal theory. I use a debate over the question of sharīʿat man qablanā, “the law of those before us,” in treatises on legal theory to illuminate attitudes towards the use of Jewish and Christian knowledge in the formation and interpretation of Islamic law. Chapter Three addresses the use of isrāʾīliyyāt in Qurʾānic exegesis through a study of a narrative concerning the first pregnancy of Eve. I show how a patently Islamic story came to be labeled isrāʾīliyyāt, resulting in its rejection within certain traditions of Qurʾān commentary. Chapter Four examines how Muslim scholars navigated three sources of tension on the necessity of miracles as a proof of prophethood: the Qurʾān, biographical traditions of Muḥammad, and Christian polemics. Through reasserting the Qurʾān’s preeminence as the miracle of miracles, I argue that Muslim apologists were able to redefine the debate over proofs of prophethood in a uniquely Islamic fashion. Based on these case studies, I suggest that we can use Muslim scholars’ challenging of Jewish and Christian traditions as a lens to better understand the conceptualization of a distinct Islamic tradition in the 2nd/8th-8th/14th centuries.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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