“The Flowering of Muslim Theology” by Josef van Ess published in Persian 

March 1, 2021 - 18:49

TEHRAN – A Persian translation of Josef van Ess’ “The Flowering of Muslim Theology” has recently been published by Hekmat Publications in Tehran. 

The book has been translated into Persian by Sara Mesgar. 

Van Ess is the world’s most distinguished scholar of classical kalam, the Muslim theology that was the precursor to, and foundation for, modern Islam.

This book is the fruit of Van Ess’s thirty-five years of work in the field. A lucid and authoritative introduction to classical Islam, it opens a window on the intellectual world that gave rise to Muslim theology.

A sustained look at important issues in early kalam, “The Flowering of Muslim Theology” discusses the emergence of theology in the classical period and offers acute and illuminating comparisons with the Christian traditions. 

Van Ess looks at the issue of heresy, at early ideas about straying from true belief. In a substantial and original instance of Quranic exegesis, he considers a problem much debated among classical theologians: whether it is possible to see God. 

He examines the different ways, in which early Muslim thinkers appropriated atomism, a natural philosophy that was originally materialistic and atheistic, for their own theological purposes. He explores the explosive mix of theology and political thought, in an analysis of the development of ideas about the role and authority of a ruler. And he considers the relationship, or contradiction, between faith and knowledge: the enduring question of how one can know whether something is right or true.

A work of intellectual history enlivened by vivid examples, “The Flowering of Muslim Theology” gives a wider audience rare insight into Islam’s rich classical past.

Van Ess, an emeritus professor of Islamic studies and the Semitic languages at the University of Tübingen in Germany, has published widely on the history of the Islamic world, Islamic theology and philosophy, especially with respect to the formative period (8th-10th centuries) and Islamic mysticism. 

His most famous work is “Theology and Society” (“Theologie und Gesellschaft”) in 6 volumes, the first four volumes of which are now published in English.

Photo: Front cover of the Persian translation of Josef van Ess’ “The Flowering of Muslim Theology”.


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