The Beginnings of Islamic Theology

Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 26)


Theology is not as central a phenomenon for Islam as it is for Christianity. The educational system of the Islamic Middle Ages concentrated on law and adīth, the tradition of the Prophet; madrasas and mosques offered chairs in jurisprudence, but not in theology. Even the famous Nimiyya, the waqf-endowed “university” founded by the wazīr Nimalmulk some decades before the first crusade, although for a long time credited in European research with a shift towards the opposite, a “victory” of Ash’arite theology, did not in fact contribute much to change the situation.1 And when Islam today tries to adjust to the demands of the modern world it does so not so much through experimenting with new theological and philosophical notions, but through providing fresh interpretations for the old juridical problems of a religion-oriented society. Nevertheless, Western orientalists usually keep to their own value systems, and understand Muslim “Geistesgeschichte” mainly as a history of theology and philosophy, not as a history of law.


Intellectual Life Islamic Culture Dialectical Structure Islamic Study Theological Discussion 
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© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht-Holland 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität TübingenGermany

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