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date: 18 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Despite its image as a cultural and intellectual backwater in later centuries, the scholarly environment in Central Asia, primarily in Bukhara and Samarqand, remained vibrant and active into the twentieth century. Theology was an important part of that environment, and this chapter addresses the evolution of the Sunni, Maturidi kalām tradition in Central Asia in the post-classical period (fifteenth to nineteenth centuries). Following earlier developments made by scholars such as Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna), Ibn ‘Arabī, and Taftāzānī, questions of ontology and metaphysics, such as God’s status as the Necessary of Existence, became central for Sunni kalām in the region. Central Asian mutakallimūn incorporated ideas from a number of sources, including these earlier scholars, as well as the Shirazi philosophical school and Ahmad Sirhindī’s Sufi reformism, to form a refined discourse for sophisticated theological reasoning. Debates over issues such as the status of God’s attributes and the nature of mundane existence flourished in public disputations and commentaries and supercommentaries on important works of theology, up until the modern era.

Keywords: divine attributes, Maturidism, Bukhara, Taftāzānī, Avicennian Turn, Sirhindī, necessary of existence, ontology, Jadidism, Marjānī, Samarqand

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