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date: 13 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article investigates the origins of Kalām in the debate culture of Late Antiquity. Following Michael Cook and Jack Tannous, it argues that kalām-style argumentation has its origin in Christological debates and was then absorbed into Muslim practice through the mediation of the Arab Christian milieu in Syria and Iraq. The second part of the article considers the origins of the Qadar debate (human free will versus divine predestination). Finally, the third part discusses three Muslim texts on Qadar, falsely attributed to Ḥasan b. Muḥammad b. al-Ḥanafiyya, ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-’Azīz, and al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrī. It offers a critical appraisal of Josef van Ess’s reconstruction of the ‘beginnings’ of Kalām.

Keywords: Origins of Kalām, Christological debates, Arab Christians, qadar, free will, predestination

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