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The Jerusalem Epistle (Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī)

The Jerusalem Epistle (Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī)

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Presentation

The Jerusalem Epistle (al-Risala al-Qudsiyya) is a small theological tract written by perhaps Islam’s most influential thinker Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d.1111/505). Written while living in Jerusalem, Ghazali sets out in four "cornerstones" (arkan) each with ten "foundations" (usul) what he takes to be the core Muslim doctrine a general believer must assent to. Although terse and short, the Jerusalem Epistle is layered with theological and philosophical arguments. This book contains an edited version of the original Arabic text of the Jerusalem Epistle followed by extensive notes to help the reader unpack the key notions and arguments for further study and systematic reflection. This is the first time a fully annotated edition of the Jerusalem Epistle has appeared in the English language.

Table

The book has three parts : Part One contains an introduction to the aims, structure and methodology of the Risala. Part Two consists of a full edited edition of the original Arabic text. Part Three contains over 100 pages of notes on the core themes within the Risala in order to help the reader understand and appreciate they key precepts and major arguments. The distinctive feature of this part of the book is that the notes are assessments based on philosophical analysis and not just descriptive explanations.

Synopsis :

Although terse and short, the Jerusalem Epistle is layered with theological and philosophical arguments. This book contains an edited version of the original Arabic text of the Jerusalem Epistle followed by extensive notes to help the reader unpack the key notions and arguments for further study and systematic reflection.

This is the first time a fully annotated edition of the Jerusalem Epistle has appeared in the English language.

- Abbreviations,
- Introduction,
- Aims, Structure and Methodology of al-Risala al-Qudsiyya,
- Imam al-Ghazali’s Biographical Information,
- Birth and Early Life,
- Fame and Scholarship,
- Travel and Wanderings,
- Return and Final Years,
- Basic Timeline.
- The Jerusalem Epistle,
- Al-Risala al-Qudsiyya - The Arabic Text,
- Notes on the Jerusalem Epistle,

The First Cornerstone : The Doctrine of Allah’s Essence,
- The Design Argument,
- The Cosmological Argument.
- Perfection,
- Aseity,
- Al-Ghazali and the Hermeneutical Rule.

The Second Cornerstone : On the Divine Attributes,
- Causality,
- Denial of Necessary Causation,
- Weak Causality,
- Epistemic Modality,
- Tensed Facts,
- Allah’s Inscrutable Will.

The Third Cornerstone : On the Divine Actions,
- Free Will and Accountability,
- Ash’arite Kasb,
- Ash’arite Voluntarism.

The Fourth Cornerstone : On Faith and Fundamentals.
- Resurrection and Personal Identity,
- The Caliphate Question.

Appendices :

- I. "Al-Ghazali and the Decline of Islamic Philosophy : Assessing the Arguments."
- II. "Did Al-Ghazali Wield the Axe on Philosophy?" : Outlining the Views."
Bibliography,
- Index.