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A History of the 'AlawisFrom Medieval Aleppo to the Turkish Republic$
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Stefan Winter

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691167787

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691167787.001.0001

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The Nusayris in Medieval Syria

The Nusayris in Medieval Syria

From Religious Sect to Confessional Community (Tenth–Twelfth Centuries CE)

(p.11) 1 The Nusayris in Medieval Syria
A History of the 'Alawis

Stefan Winter

Princeton University Press

This chapter re-examines the early development of the ʻAlawi community and its situation in western Syria in the medieval period in the wider context of what might be termed Islamic provincial history. It starts from the premise that the conventional image of the “Nusayris” has largely been fashioned by elite historical sources whose discourse on nonorthodox groups is a priori negative but which, when read against the grain and compared with other sources, can yield a less essentializing, less conflicting account of the community's development. In particular, the chapter aims to show that the ʻAlawi faith was not the deviant, marginal phenomenon it has retrospectively been made out to be but, on the contrary, constituted, and was treated by the contemporary authorities as, a normal mode of rural religiosity in Syria.

Keywords:   ʻAlawis, ʻAlawi community, western Syria, Islamic provincial history, Nusayris

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