Al-Ghazali's Philosophical Theology

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Oxford University Press, May 28, 2009 - Religion - 424 pages
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The Muslim thinker al-Ghazali (d. 1111) was one of the most influential theologians and philosophers of Islam and has been considered an authority in both Western and Islamic philosophical traditions. Born in northeastern Iran, he held the most prestigious academic post in Islamic theology in Baghdad, only to renounce the position and teach at small schools in the provinces for no money. His contributions to Islamic scholarship range from responding to the challenges of Aristotelian philosophy to creating a new type of Islamic mysticism and integrating both these traditions-falsafa and Sufism-into the Sunni mainstream. This book offers a comprehensive study of al-Ghazali's life and his understanding of cosmology-how God creates things and events in the world, how human acts relate to God's power, and how the universe is structured. Frank Griffel presents a serious revision of traditional views on al-Ghazali, showing that his most important achievement was the creation of a new rationalist theology in which he transformed the Aristotelian views of thinkers such as Avicenna to accord with intellectual currents that were well-established within Muslim theological discourse. Using the most authoritative sources, including reports from al-Ghazali's students, his contemporaries, and his own letters, Griffel reconstructs every stage in a turbulent career. The al-Ghazali that emerges offers many surprises, particularly on his motives for leaving Baghdad and the nature of his "seclusion" afterwards. Griffel demonstrates that al-Ghazali intended to create a new cosmology that moved away from concerns held earlier by Muslim theologians and Arab philosophers. This new theology aimed to provide a framework for the pursuit of the natural sciences and a basis for Islamic science and philosophy to flourish beyond the 12th century. Al-Ghazali's Philosophical Theology is the most thorough examination to date of this important thinker.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
AlGhaz257l299s Biography
19
2 AlGhaz257l299s Most Influential Students and Early Followers
61
3 AlGhaz257l299 on the Role of falsafa in Islam
97
4 The Reconciliation of Reason and Revelation through the Rule of Interpretation Q257nun alta w299l
111
Developments That Led to alGhaz257l299s Incoherence of the Philosophers
123
6 The Seventeenth Discussion of The Incoherence of the Philosophers
147
7 Knowledge of Causal Connection Is Necessary
175
9 Cosmology in Works Written after The Revival
235
Conclusion
275
Notes
287
Bibliography
361
General Index
395
Index of Works by alGhaz257l299ı
403
Index of Manuscripts
405
Index of Verses in the Quran
407

8 Causes and Effects in The Revival of the Religious Sciences
215

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About the author (2009)

Frank Griffel is Professor of Islamic Studies at Yale University and has published widely in the fields of Islamic theology, Arab and Islamic philosophy, Islamic law, and Muslim intellectual history.

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