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Unsaying God Negative Theology in Medieval Islam

by Aydogan (Lecturer, Lecturer, Centre for Religious Studies, Monash University) Kars

Part of the AAR ACADEMY SER Series

Unsaying God Negative Theology in Medieval Islam Synopsis

What cannot be said about God, and how can we speak about God by negating what we say? Traveling across prominent negators, denialists, ineffectualists, paradoxographers, naysayers, ignorance-pretenders, unknowers, I-don't-knowers, and taciturns, Unsaying God: Negative Theology in Medieval Islam delves into the negative theological movements that flourished in the first seven centuries of Islam. Aydogan Kars argues that there were multiple, and often competing, strategies for self-negating speech in the vast field of theology. By focusing on Arabic and Persian textual sources, the book defines four distinct yet interconnected paths of negative speech formations on the nature of God that circulated in medieval Islamic world. Expanding its scope to Jewish intellectuals, Unsaying God also demonstrates that religious boundaries were easily transgressed as scholars from diverse sectarian or religious backgrounds could adopt similar paths of negative speech on God. This is the first book-length study of negative theology in Islam. It encompasses many fields of scholarship, and diverse intellectual schools and figures. Throughout, Kars demonstrates how seemingly different genres should be read in a more connected way in light of the cultural and intellectual history of Islam rather than as different opposing sets of orthodoxies and heterodoxies.

Unsaying God Negative Theology in Medieval Islam Press Reviews

At once historical and phenomenological, Aydogan Kars's Unsaying God unveils the great subtlety with which pre-modern Muslims of various intellectual and spiritual persuasions articulated their experience of the divine, both within and without the confines of language. As such, this book represents a timely intervention in an age where God-talk is often reduced to simplistic binaries by its supporters and detractors alike * Mohammed Rustom, author of Inrushes of the Spirit: The Mystical Theology of 'Ayn al-Qudat * Unsaying God is an innovative, theoretically-informed attempt to understand Islamic thought through the prism of negative discourses about the nature of the divine. It is the first serious attempt to analyze apophatic discourses ranging across philosophy, mysticism, and theology in Islam. Kars's work, a major contribution to the study of Islam, will prove to be essential reading for those seeking to locate Islamic studies in wider debates on the study of religion and literature, not least on the theme of apophasis. * Sajjad H. Rizvi, Associate Professor of Islamic Intellectual History, University of Exeter * Unsaying God is an illuminating survey of the 'via negativa' in Islam with a special emphasis on thirteenth- century Sufism. This fascinating book presents the various apophatic approaches of philosophers, theologians, mystics, savants of esoteric knowledge, and traditionalists. The book's in-depth discussions ponder key themes like 'oneness', 'thingness,' and 'the negation of all discursive possibilities, including this very negation itself.' Unsaying God is thought-provoking, extremely informative, and a pleasure to read. * Livnat Holtzman, author of Anthropomorphism in Islam: The Challenge of Traditionalism 700-1350 *

Book Information

ISBN: 9780190942458
Publication date: 13th June 2019
Author: Aydogan (Lecturer, Lecturer, Centre for Religious Studies, Monash University) Kars
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 344 pages
Categories: Sufism & Islamic mysticism, Islamic theology,

About Aydogan (Lecturer, Lecturer, Centre for Religious Studies, Monash University) Kars

Aydogan Kars earned his Ph.D. in Religion at Vanderbilt University. His primary research field is medieval intellectual history with a focus on Sufism and theology. He has been serving as a Lecturer in the Centre for Religious Studies and the Coordinator of the Islamic Studies Program at Monash University.

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