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Al-Ṭabarī and the Dynamics of tafsīr: Theological Dimensions of a Legacy.

Shah, Mustafa (2013) 'Al-Ṭabarī and the Dynamics of tafsīr: Theological Dimensions of a Legacy.' Journal of Qur'anic Studies, 15 (2). pp. 83-139.

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Abstract

The Jāmiʿ al-bayān ʿan taʾwīl ayy al-Qurʾān is fittingly recognised as representing an important milestone in the history of the discipline of tafsīr: within the work, al-Ṭabarī accomplished a uniquely comprehensive exegetical synthesis of literary, grammatical, legal and theological elements, bringing a broader sense of definition and purpose to the discipline of tafsīr. Among the characteristic features of the scholarship of al-Ṭabarī are the objectivity and consistency he brought to his work and such qualities resonate in his gauging of theological issues and topics. While it has been customary to view al-Ṭabarī’s theology as being strictly informed by a rigidly traditionalist methodology, a circumspect review of theological discussions in the tafsīr reveals not only the author’s accomplished marshalling of the attendant arguments and theses, but also the spirit of autonomy and resourcefulness with which he assesses points of doctrine and dogma. In this article an attempt is made to analyse aspects of the intertwined theological discourses of the tafsīr and related treatises, bridging them with materials articulated in the biographical sources. The aim is to explore the relationship between his approach to scholarship along with the standpoints to which he adhered and their impact upon attitudes towards his remarkable work and legacy. Key words: Tafsīr; Islamic theology; al-Ṭabarī; istiwāʾ; ism and musammā; Arabic grammarians; classical Arabic biography

Item Type: Articles
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East
ISSN: 14653591
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.3366/jqs.2013.0097
Depositing User: Mustafa Shah
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2013 08:20
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/16903

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