The Calligraphic State: Textual Domination and History in a by Brinkley Messick

By Brinkley Messick

During this leading edge mix of anthropology, heritage, and postmodern concept, Brinkley Messick examines the altering relation of writing and authority in a Muslim society from the past due 19th century to the current. The production and interpretation of texts, from sacred scriptures to administrative and criminal contracts, are one of the primary ways in which authority is validated and maintained in a posh kingdom. but few students have explored this technique and the ways that it adjustments, particularly open air the Western world.Messick brings jointly extensive ethnography and textual research from a wealth of fabric: Islamic jurisprudence, Yemeni histories, neighborhood records. In exploring the constitution and transformation of literacy, legislation, and statecraft in Yemen, he increases very important matters which are of comparative value for realizing political existence in different Muslim and nonwestern states to boot.

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Extra info for The Calligraphic State: Textual Domination and History in a Muslim Society (Comparative Studies on Muslim Societies , No 16)

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To the extent that an extremely concise manual might be relatively univocal because of the dictates of space, commentaries inevitably opened up points of contention. This is the case with the very brief matn by Abu Shuja', the other manual relied upon in Ibb. Nothing beyond a single-view outline was possible in the scope of such a matn , but in the hands of al-Ghazzi, his principal commentator, many of Abu Shuja"s points are immediately modified, opened up to alternatives, or even bluntly reversed.

Divergences represented by the mere existence of separate schools of shari'a interpretation were further developed within each of the schools. Fiqh manuals served to summarize but could not finally contain the essentially contentious terrain of authoritative shari'a thought. In many historical settings, schools competed for the intellectual and, the subject of the next chapter, the political terrain. id=0&brand=ucpress (22 of 58) [03/03/2007 16:50:02] The Calligraphic State "d0e190" ― 36 ― drop for a discussion of differing shari'a conceptions of the state.

This special, methodological branch of the legal literature, which was launched by al-Shafi'i in his Risala , is specifically concerned with interpretation. One way the distinction between the two levels of discourse has been characterized in Yemen is by means of a simple botanical metaphor. In the new Preface to the published text of the Azhar , the difference between usul , the sources methodology, and furu' , the rules of applied law, is explained by means of the manual title, The Book of Flowers: In the usage of scholars of interpretation in the Islamic community, fiqh is said to be composed of usul and furu'.

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