By Hassan Ansari and Amin Ehteshami

This monograph investigates theories of testimonial knowledge as articulated in the writings of al-Sharīf al-Murtaḍā (965–1044). Among the topics discussed are the definitions provided for testimonial report (khabar) and knowledge (ʿilm); the epistemic status of transmitted reports in general and scriptural reports in particular; the criteria developed for ascertaining the veracity of eyewitness testimony; the division of reports into corroborated (mutawātir) and uncorroborated (āḥād); the authority of uncorroborated reports in forming legal precepts; and the status of historical reports in establishing the authenticity of Prophet Muḥammad’s claim to prophecy and his performance of miracles. The authors trace these epistemological issues through al-Murtaḍā’s theological and jurisprudential writings and examine his engagement with a variety of prominent Muʿtazilī thinkers including al-Balkhī (d. 931), al-Jubbāʾī (d. 933), Ibn Khallād (fl. tenth century), and ʿAbd al-Jabbār (d. 1025). A close reading of relevant sections from Ibn Khallād’s theological handbook al-Uṣūl, along with the commentaries and revisions of ʿAbd al-Jabbār and al-Hārūnī (d. 1033), clarifies the contours and intricacies of the Muʿtazilī milieu within and against which al-Murtaḍā wrote. In addition, in order to situate the Muʿtazilī and Shīʿī discussions in a broader intellectual context, the authors briefly explore the contrasting views advocated by two of al-Murtaḍā’s contemporaries: (1) al-Bāqillānī (d. 1013), a renowned Ashʿarī thinker whose position concerning testimonial knowledge differs from al-Murtaḍā in some consequential respects; and (۲) Ibn al-Samḥ (d. ۱۰۲۷), a Baghdadi Christian philosopher whose epistemology of testimonial reports diverges from the Muʿtazilī, Ashʿarī, and Shīʿī theological frameworks. Theories of Testimonial Knowledge in Islamic Theology brings to surface the epistemological discussions informing the approaches of Muslim theologians and legal theorists to eyewitness testimony as a source of religious knowledge.

دوشنبه ۲۱ خرداد ۱۳۹۷ ساعت ۸:۳۲