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The Calligraphic StateTextual Domination and History in a Muslim Society$
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Brinkley Messick

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520076051

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520076051.001.0001

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Genealogies of the Text

Genealogies of the Text

(p.15) Chapter 1 Genealogies of the Text
The Calligraphic State

Brinkley Messick

University of California Press

This chapter introduces the culture of the authoritative text, taking the manuals of one school of shari'a thought as a specific instance. The development of the shari'a across the Muslim lands was a phenomenon involving specific men and specific texts. It also investigates the recitational and open identities of the fiqh-manual genre as a means of introducing some of the main features of the core discursive tradition. It then elaborates upon the paradigmatic qualities of the Quran and makes comparisons with the texts of the collateral science of hadith. Recitation and memorization were at the foundation of Muslim pedagogy. Openness in authoritative texts was not only a consequence of concision, but equally a matter of internal discursive construction. Al-Minhaj came to represent in the Shafi'i school.

Keywords:   shari'a, Shafi'i school, Muslim lands, authoritative text, recitational identity, open identity, Quran, hadith, fiqh, Al-Minhaj

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