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dc.contributor.advisorCook, Michaelen_US
dc.contributor.authorWeitz, Lev E.en_US
dc.contributor.otherNear Eastern Studies Departmenten_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation examines the emergence and development of traditions of family law among East Syrian and West Syrian Christians in Muslim-ruled Syria, Iraq, and Iran between the late eighth and early fourteenth centuries CE. With the general interest of integrating the history of these demographically and culturally significant communities into the narratives of medieval Islamic societies, the dissertation argues that bishops of the Syriac churches developed traditions of family law in order to foster conceptions of Christian community within the Islamic world grounded in marital practice. At the same time, their cultivation of law as an intellectual discipline entailed engaging with broader intellectual trends in the Islamic Middle East. After reviewing the historiography of Syriac Christian law, the dissertation focuses on three law books composed by East Syrian bishops in the late eighth and early ninth centuries and investigates their techniques for instilling Christian distinctiveness in common Middle Eastern practices of marital life. By introducing Christian ritual dimensions into the contracting of betrothals and by prohibiting close-kin marriage, polygyny, and divorce, the bishops redefined certain regional practices as constitutive of Christian communal belonging. Even as they articulated distinctively Christian norms for household life, however, these bishops appropriated common institutions of Middle Eastern legal culture and engaged in disputes broadly characteristic of legal discourse in the Islamic Middle East, particularly over the authoritative sources of norms within religious legal traditions. The dissertation's final section moves to the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries to trace the longer-term convergence of Syriac Christian family law with Islamic traditions. It demonstrates how the West Syrian Bar Hebraeus produced a comprehensive but hybridized summary of communal law by reconfiguring Shafii family law and assembling it with a variety of Christian sources. His East Syrian contemporary Abdisho bar Brika, on the other hand, drew on the more extensive resources of East Syrian law to compose summary legal works that largely, though not wholly, avoided appropriating from Islamic fiqh. In composing systematic statements for their respective communities, however, both writers responded in different degrees to normative conceptions of social hierarchy and gender suggested by Islamic legal traditions.en_US
dc.publisherPrinceton, NJ : Princeton Universityen_US
dc.relation.isformatofThe Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the <a href=> library's main catalog </a>en_US
dc.subjectAbbasid Caliphateen_US
dc.subjectFamily historyen_US
dc.subjectLaw and societyen_US
dc.subjectMedieval Islamen_US
dc.subjectSyriac Christianityen_US
dc.subject.classificationMiddle Eastern historyen_US
dc.subject.classificationNear Eastern studiesen_US
dc.titleSyriac Christians in the Medieval Islamic World: Law, Family, and Societyen_US
dc.typeAcademic dissertations (Ph.D.)en_US
Appears in Collections:Near Eastern Studies

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