Early Islamic Theology: The Mu`tazilites and al-Ash`ari: Texts and Studies on the Development and History of Kalam, Vol. II, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Early Islamic Theology: The Mu`tazilites and al-Ash`ari

Texts and Studies on the Development and History of Kalam, Vol. II, 1st Edition

By Richard M. Frank, edited by Dimitri Gutas


400 pages

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Hardback: 9780860789789
pub: 2007-02-28

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This is the second of three volumes reprinting the collected papers on Islamic subjects by Richard M. Frank, Professor Emeritus at the Catholic University of America. It brings together Franks's articles on early kalam, the Mu`tazilites, and the development of the thought of al-Ash`ari. The studies in this collection are of particular importance for the study of kalam, in that they represent an original attempt to make philosophical sense and understand the theoretical underpinnings of the foundational theological tradition in early Islam, the Mu`tazilite school of Basra. They focus, among others, on Abu l-Hudhayl al-`Allaf, al-Jubba`i, and al-Ash`ari, and include a critical edition and translation of the latter's al-Hathth `ala l-bahth.


’Like the first volume, this new collection makes available a number of very valuable articles, some of which were originally published in hard-to-find proceedings or journals. Professor Gutas has done a fine job of selecting the nine articles; one cannot imagine a better-fitting group of articles for a Variorum book. Gutas is also to be commended for overseeing the production of the three exhaustive indexes (one for names and subjects, one for Arabic terms, and one for Greek and Syriac terms), which make the articles searchable and enhance their usability for scholars of Islamic studies.’ Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; The metaphysics of created being according to Abu l-Hudhayl al-`Allaf; a philosophical study of the earliest kalam; The divine attributes according to Abu l-Hudhayl al-`Allaf; Several fundamental assumptions of the Basra school of the Mu`tazila; Al-ma`dum wal-mawjud: the non-existent, the existent, and the possible in the teaching of Abu Hashim and his followers; Abu Hashim's theory of 'states', its structure and function; Elements in the development of the teaching of al-Ash`ari; The structure of created causality according to al-Ash`ari: an analysis of the Kitab al-Luma`, §§ 82-164; Al-Ash`ari's conception of the nature and role of speculative reasoning in theology; Al-Ash`ari's Kitab al-Hathth `ala l-Bahth; Index.

About the Authors

Richard M. Frank is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Semitic and Egyptian Languages and Literatures, at the Catholic University of America, USA.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General