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date: 28 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the role of science in tafsīr, with particular attention to tafsīrs’ attention to science’s epistemological claims. Ṭabarī’s Jāmiʿ al-bayān included discussions of judicial astrology in order to argue for the value of prophecy and revelation. Still, tafsīr as a genre never privileged science; science entered Rāzī’s al-Tafsīr al-Kabīr because Rāzī wanted to write an encyclopedic tafsīr. He privileged neither scientific methods nor scientific questions. Niẓām al-Dīn Nīsābūrī’s Gharāʾib al-Qur’ān drew heavily on Rāzī’s scientific material, but from the point of view of someone who wrote significant works on astronomy. Bayḍāwī, too, paid more attention to scientific material than earlier scholarship had acknowledged. In the modern period, science has served commentators’ apologetic goals but has also served to argue for a less scientistic approach to Islam.

Keywords: Nīsābūrī, Rāzī, science, epistemology, astrology, astronomy, kalām

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