Genealogies of the Text

Brinkley Messick

in The Calligraphic State

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 1992 | ISBN: 9780520076051
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520917828 | DOI:
Genealogies of the Text

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This chapter introduces the culture of the authoritative text, taking the manuals of one school of shari'a thought as a specific instance. The development of the shari'a across the Muslim lands was a phenomenon involving specific men and specific texts. It also investigates the recitational and open identities of the fiqh-manual genre as a means of introducing some of the main features of the core discursive tradition. It then elaborates upon the paradigmatic qualities of the Quran and makes comparisons with the texts of the collateral science of hadith. Recitation and memorization were at the foundation of Muslim pedagogy. Openness in authoritative texts was not only a consequence of concision, but equally a matter of internal discursive construction. Al-Minhaj came to represent in the Shafi'i school.

Keywords: shari'a; Shafi'i school; Muslim lands; authoritative text; recitational identity; open identity; Quran; hadith; fiqh; Al-Minhaj

Chapter.  8428 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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