ISBN : 9780190942458
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.
Why Sufism, and Why the Thirteenth Century?
A Guide to Negative Theology: Are the Mu'tazilites Negative Theologians?
Can We Still Speak of Negative Theology Tout Court?
Coming to Terms: Apophasis, Performance, and God's Gender
PATH ONE. DOUBLE NEGATION: ISMAILI APOPHATICISM
The Background: Radicals of All Radicals
Thingness of God?
Double Negation: the Repetitive Form
Permutations and Performances
Disseminations: Ismaili Apophaticism beyond Ismailis
Tusi: Sufi Paths of Ismaili Apophaticism
Dimension of Apophatic Theology in Later Sufi and Ismailli Connections
PATH TWO. NECESSARILY DISSIMILAR: PHILOSOPHICAL APOPHATICISM
Beginnings: the End-less
The Kindian Dilemma in the Tenth Century
Discursive Thought and Non-Discursive Intellection
Protectors of the Divine Oneness: al-Tawhidi's Circle in Baghdad
Philosophical Apophaticism in Andalusia: Ibn Masarra
Twelfth-Century Andalusia: From Philosophy to Sufism
Aristotle in Andalusia: al-Batalyawsi, Maimonides, and Ibn Sab'in
Jewish Mysticism and Arabic Philosophical Apophaticism: Eyn Sof and Lam Yazal
Sufis and Genies: Philosophical Apophaticism within Sufi Epistemology
PATH THREE. YES AND NO: PARADOXICAL APOPHATICISM AND DIALECTICAL LOGIC
Paradox in Literature and Sufism: an Overview
Paradox of Human Apotheosis: from Sufism to Philosophy?
Paradoxes of Late Antiquity in Philosophy
Paradox in Theological Questions
The Divine Paradox: When Incomparability and Immanence are Balanced
Symmetrical Approach to Language, and Dialectical Logic
Logic and Nomenclature in Paradoxical Apophaticism
Healing with Opposites: Performativity in Paradoxical Apophaticism
PATH FOUR. AGAINST DISCOURSE: AMODAL APOPHATICISM
The Background: Bila Kayfa as a Theological Concept
Divine Nature Uninterpreted: Between Anthropomorphism and Apophaticism
Bila Kayfa Apophaticism and Early Hanafism
Early Ash'arism: From Anti-Interpretivism to Anti-Anthropomorphism
Anti-Interpretivism among Early Sufis?
Anti-Interpretivism during the Formalization of Sufism
Interpretivism in Persian Sufism
Hanbali Sufism and the Qadiriyya
The Emergence of the Rifa'iyya
Suhrawardiyya and the State-Sponsored Sunni Bila Kayfa Project
Bila Kayfa Mysticism in Andalusia: the Background
Sufism and Bila Kayfa in the Thirteenth-Century Muslim West