In the tenth century Shiˀa scholars assembled accounts of twelve imams’ lives, portraying them as miracle workers who were betrayed. These biographies invoked shared cultural memories, shaped communal responses and ritual practices of mourning, and inspired Shiˀa identity and religious imagination for centuries to come, Matthew Pierce shows.
Few stand closer to the nexus of all major Islamic sects than Ja'far al-Sadiq (702–765). Not only is he revered by Twelver Shi'a Muslims, who regard him as the sixth infallible imam in the line of succession from the Prophet Muhammad, but he is cited as an authoritative figure in Sunni chains of hadith transmission, and is prominent in Sufi lineages of authority. He has also been heralded as a disseminator of occult sciences among esoteric groups, and in today’s Iran a vibrant trade in herbal remedies has developed around his explorations of natural medicine. Matthew Pierce examines the life and legacy of this important figure who shunned numerous opportunities to claim political power as the Umayyad Empire fell and the 'Abbasids rose, instead dedicating himself to teaching and learning. By studying al-Sadiq, in whom Sunni, Shi'a, and Sufi religious lineages and authorities converge, Pierce engages with early debates within Islam, from a time before sectarian lines were solidified. The first book-length biography of Ja'far al-Sadiq in the English language, this volume is a vital contribution to the literature.
In Gender and Succession in Medieval and Early Modern Islam: Bilateral Descent and the Legacy of Fatima, Alyssa Gabbay examines episodes in pre-modern Islamic history in which individuals or societies recognized descent from both men and women. Fatima, daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, features prominently in this study, for her example constituted a striking precedent for acknowledging bilateral descent in both Sunni and Shi'i societies, with all of its ramifications for female inheritance, succession and identity. Covering a broad geographical and chronological swath, Gender and Succession in Medieval and Early Modern Islam presents alternative perspectives to patriarchal narratives, and breaks new ground in its focus upon how people conceived of family structures and bloodlines. In so doing, it builds upon a tradition of studies seeking to dispel monolithic understandings of Islam and Gender.
In Christian theology, the teaching that Christ possessed both a human and divine will is central to the doctrine of two natures, but it also represents a logical paradox, raising questions about how a person can be both impeccable and subject to temptation. This volume explores these questions through an analytic theology approach, bringing together 15 original papers that explore the implications of a strong libertarian concept of free will for Christology. With perspectives from systematic theologians, philosophers, and biblical scholars, several chapters also offer a comparative theology approach, examining the concept of impeccability in the Muslim tradition. Therefore, this volume will be of interest to scholars and graduate students working in analytic theology, biblical scholarship, systematic theology, and Christian-Islamic dialogue.