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Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law (Modern Classics in Near Eastern Studies) Paperback – Deluxe Edition, April 1, 1981

ISBN-13: 978-0691100999 ISBN-10: 0691100993 Edition: Limited Ed

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Classics in Near Eastern Studies
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Limited Ed edition (April 1, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691100993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691100999
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #984,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By George R Dekle on March 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
Having just read the Qur'an, I wanted to learn more about Islam. A study of available literature on the subject revealed that modern writing falls into three basic categories: 1. anti-Islamic polemic; 2. pro-Islamic apologetic; 3. "Impartial" studies overly concerned about political correctness and hyper-careful not to touch off the "Danish cartoonist effect."

What to do? Find something written before all the modern craziness began. Goldziher, a Jew writing at the turn of the 20th Century, prepared this book as a series of lectures to be given on an American tour that never came to fruition. He displays an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of Islamic thought, and presents that knowledge in a sympathetic, even-handed way. He is unstinting in his praise for those things he finds praiseworthy and unflinching in his criticism of those things he finds blameworthy. And there is plenty of both.

As a student of the history of Christianity, I could not help but be struck by the many theological parallels between various schools of Islamic thought and various schools of Christian theology. Goldziher elucidates the influence of Roman Law, Neoplatonism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism upon the formation and growth of Islamic theology. He discusses the differences among Shi'ite, Sunni, and Sufi, and writes on other splinter sects, some of which have died out and some of which still exist.

Of particular interest was Goldziher's treatment of Hadith, and how the Islamic world views the words of the Prophet and his Companions. At its best, there is much to admire about Islam, but there are disturbing currents of thought: the two most dangerous being intolerance and belligerence.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MW on September 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
This work is very old and I think this is available as a free ebook pdf, search online.

While others had expressed some doubt about the authenticity of hadiths before Goldziher, it was he who in the second volume of his Muhammedanische Studien first clearly articulated this scepticism. Familiarity with the vast number of hadiths in the canonical collections induced "sceptical caution rather than optimistic trust." Goldziher concluded that these hadiths could "not serve as a document for the history of the infancy of Islam, but [served] rather as a reflection of the tendencies which appeared in the community during the maturer stages of its development.
Goldziher's suspicions about the authenticity of hadiths sprang from several observations. The material found in later collections makes no references to earlier written collections and uses terms in the isnads which imply oral transmission, not written sources. Moreover, the ubiquitous contradictory traditions, the apparent proliferation of hadiths in later collections not attested to in earlier ones, and the fact that younger Companions of Muhammad seem to have known more about him (that is, they transmitted more hadiths) than the older Companions who presumably knew the Prophet for a greater length of time, suggested to Goldizher that large-scale fabrication of hadiths took place.
As a result, Goldziher provides a significantly different version of the origin and development of hadith literature. Goldziher has no trouble accepting that the Companions preserved the words and deeds of their prophet after his death, and that these might have been recorded in written form in sahifas. In this way he remains very close to the Muslim interpretation of the development of hadith literature.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Wrona on August 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing book. Tireless scholarship. Rigidly impartial. One of the most important books I have read on Islam. Encyclopedic in scope. It appears that very little of it has been superseded by the passage of nearly a century.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tron Honto on April 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
Even though his scholarship is over one hundred years old, Goldziher's scholarship still remains relevant and in use. A parallel could be drawn between the continued importance of Albert Schweitzer's work on NT studies and the continued legacy of Goldziher. This edition of the work is nicely translated and well edited and belongs in the library of anyone interested in Islamic Studies. Along with Muslim Studies, this work remains as an historical monument marking the beginning of modern historical skepticism and critical scholarship towards the Muslim jurisprudential literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marie on February 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Overall, it's pretty great, not great though. There are more current books that will be of more help. However, if you want multiple perspectives, this one is great for that!
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