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date: 21 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Under the influence of Arabic Neoplatonism, the Ismā‘īlī branch of Shī‘ite Islam developed such a radical conception of the absolute transcendence of God that ‘theology’—in the sense of a ‘discourse about God’—becomes for them an impossible science. Overtly hostile to both Ashʿarism and Muʿtazilism, Ismā‘īlī authors of the Fātimid period (tenth–eleventh centuries) nevertheless introduced doctrines borrowed from Kalām, but they applied them to the first created being, the Intellect, and not to the Ultimate Principle. Hence, the Word (kalima), the Will (irāda), and the Command (amr) are identified with the Intellect; the ‘most sublime names of God’ are considered as attributes of the Intellect; their plurality does not affect the absolute unity of its essence; moreover, the Intellect is presented as the source of divine revelation.

Keywords: Neoplatonism, Shī‘ism, Ashʿarism, Muʿtazilism, Fātimids, Word of God, Will of God, Command of God, Names of God, Revelation

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