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Authors: Ivanyi, Katharina Anna
Advisors: Cook, Michael A
Contributors: Near Eastern Studies Department
Keywords: Islamic thought
Ottoman Studies
Subjects: History
Islamic culture
Middle Eastern studies
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines the concepts of virtue and piety in a sixteenth century Islamic manual of ethics and advice. The work in question is Birgivi Mehmed Efendi's (d. 981/1573) al-Tariqa al-muhammadiyya. Birgivi was an Ottoman 'alim, whose ideas would rise to great popularity, especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries CE. Best known for his call for a return to the pristine ideal of the community of Muhammad, Birgivi's work inspired a number of reformist movements and thinkers, ranging in outlook from the moderate to the conservative and, in some cases, even violent. By way of a close reading and analysis of the text of al-Tariqa al-muhammadiyya, I attempt to elucidate Birgivi's understanding of virtue, piety and the role of the law in the realization of a "good life"--a life, that is, that would lead to salvation. I contextualize Birgivi's ethical system within the wider intellectual tradition of Islam, as well as within the particular social, political and religious conjuncture of sixteenth century Anatolia and Rumelia. My project thus represents an "explication de texte" in the widest sense of the word, with the aim of providing a case study in the development of Islamic ethics in the early modern period. This is particularly pertinent as the works of early modern Muslim scholars have rarely been examined in detail. In particular, I highlight the way Birgivi links questions of individual piety to issues of wider social and economic concern. I emphasize his deep mistrust of the passions of the human soul, which led him to prescribe a regime of self-examination of the underlying motives of one's actions, thoughts and emotions that turned out to be so relentless it was almost impossible for believers to ever feel truly sure of not having acted insincerely. In his articulation of such a rigorous regime of social disciplining, I argue, Birgivi also played a crucial role in the negotiation of sixteenth century Ottoman "orthodoxy," i.e. the formulation of what constituted ideologically and spiritually acceptable beliefs and practices.
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:Near Eastern Studies

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