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The Imam of the ChristiansThe World of Dionysius of Tel-Mahre, c. 750-850$
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Philip Wood

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780691212791

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691212791.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 04 December 2021

Patriarchate and Imamate

Patriarchate and Imamate

Dionysius’ Use of Muslim Political Thought

Chapter:
(p.186) 8 Patriarchate and Imamate
Source:
The Imam of the Christians
Author(s):

Philip Wood

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691212791.003.0009

This chapter focuses on Dionysius' showpiece, his own account of his encounter with al-Maʾmun. It also recounts Al Maʾmun's threat to reorganize the way in which religious minorities were governed and to allow even very small groups to select their own leaders and representatives to government. It explains that Al Maʾmun's plan was a source of serious concern for a patriarch such as Dionysius, forcing him to make a case to the caliph on why the Christians should not be treated in this manner. The chapter analyzes Dionysius' strategy of arguing that he, like the caliph, was an imam, elected by his people and not chosen by descent like the leaders of the Jews and the Zoroastrians. It reviews Dionysius' claim that the patriarchal leadership was an intrinsic part of Christianity that Muslim rulers were sworn to protect.

Keywords:   Dionysius, al-Maʾmun, religious minorities, caliph, Jews, Zoroastrians, patriarchal leadership

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