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DAPHNA EPHRAT, A Learned Society in a Period of Transition: The Sunni עUlamaء in Eleventh-Century Baghdad (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000). Pp. 229. $16.95 paper.

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2002

Extract

Studies on the social history of the ulama are generally scarce for the medieval Islamic period, which makes one welcome any new study to tackle this overlooked subject. Surveying ulama (both hadith and fiqh scholars) of different Sunni madhhabs for the 11th and 12th centuries, Ephrat analyzes considerable data in the biographical dictionaries to provide patterns that characterize the ulama who lived in Baghdad, migrated there, passed through the city in their travels, or were attached to teaching positions in madrasas there. The inquiry yields interesting insights into the relative powers of different madhhabs. One notes the preponderant role of Hanafis and Shafiעis in the formation of rival madrasas in the second half of the 11th century and how the Hanbalis, mortal enemies of kalām—which preoccupied Muעtazilis and Ashעaris over issues such as the concept of divine unity, attributes (al-ṣifāt), and justice—were latecomers to this institution in the 12th century, having chosen earlier to use mosques and private houses to disseminate hadith teaching. The Hanbalis' emphasis on educational routine on ascetic example and public exhortation gave them little need for the forum of the academy.

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© 2002 Cambridge University Press

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DAPHNA EPHRAT, A Learned Society in a Period of Transition: The Sunni עUlamaء in Eleventh-Century Baghdad (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000). Pp. 229. $16.95 paper.
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DAPHNA EPHRAT, A Learned Society in a Period of Transition: The Sunni עUlamaء in Eleventh-Century Baghdad (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000). Pp. 229. $16.95 paper.
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DAPHNA EPHRAT, A Learned Society in a Period of Transition: The Sunni עUlamaء in Eleventh-Century Baghdad (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000). Pp. 229. $16.95 paper.
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