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Lecture: Maghribi Theology in Manuscript: Reason, Belief, and the Common Folk A lecture by Caitlyn Olson (Harvard University) and Jan Thiele (CSIC, Madrid), Harvard University & CSIC, October 21, 2020 @12pm

October 21

Maghribi Theology in Manuscript: Reason, Belief, and the Common Folk

The history of Islamic theology in the Maghrib is an understudied field, due in part to the fact that many relevant sources remain in manuscript. This presentation will begin by addressing the contours of the manuscript archive and then turn to some of the major themes that we have found in our initial study of the sources therein. We highlight in particular the significance that pre-modern Maghribi theologians assigned to reason in their conceptualization of religious belief. After examining the theoretical underpinnings of this discussion, we examine the ways that theologians debated its implications for the general, less educated Muslim populace and their status as believers.

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Webinar Speakers

Jan Thiele (@Spanish National Research Council (CSIC))

Jan Thiele is a scholar in Islamic intellectual history based at CSIC in Madrid. His recent publications include Philosophical Theology in Islam: Later Ashʿarism East and West (with A. Shihadeh; Leiden, 2020), and Jewish-Muslim Intellectual History Entangled (with C. Adang, B. Chiesa, O. Hamdan, W. Madelung, and S. Schmidtke; Cambridge, 2020).

Caitlyn Olson (postdoctoral fellow @NYU Abu Dhabi)

Caitlyn Olson is a postdoctoral fellow at NYU Abu Dhabi, having earned her PhD from Harvard’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Her current project focuses on disputes among theologians in the early modern Maghrib regarding the creedal knowledge of the broader, non-elite Muslim populace.


October 21
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