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Andalus and SefaradOn Philosophy and Its History in Islamic Spain$
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Sarah Stroumsa

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691176437

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691176437.001.0001

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Theological and Legal Schools

Theological and Legal Schools

(p.61) Chapter 2 Theological and Legal Schools
Andalus and Sefarad

Sarah Stroumsa

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the theological and legal scene of al-Andalus. In the medieval Islamicate world, the development of philosophy was tightly linked to religion and religious thought. As such, theology and law are constitutive of the study of medieval Islamicate philosophy. Moreover, theological and legal schools were often more precisely delineated than philosophical ones, and individual allegiance to them tended to be more clearly identified, or at least was expected to be so. The chapter then considers two Muslim schools—the one theological (the Muʻtazila), the other legal (Ẓāhirism)—and their possible manifestations among contemporary Andalusian Jews, both Karaites and Rabbanites. The Muʻtazila, whose adherents were known as “the proponents of divine unity and justice,” firmly upheld the primacy of the intellect as a divine gift to humanity. They also believed that the revealed text-that is, the Qur'ān-which is also a divine gift, cannot possibly contradict the ordinances of the intellect, as one divine gift cannot counteract the other. With these presuppositions, the Muʻtazilites set out to harmonize the two divine sources of knowledge: the intellect and the Qur'ān. Meanwhile, the Ẓāhirites relied on two primary sources: the Qur'ān and the ḥadīth.

Keywords:   al-Andalus, theological schools, legal schools, Islamicate philosophy, Muʻtazila, Ẓāhirism, Andalusian Jews, Karaites, Rabbanites, Qur'ān

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