The Calligraphic State: Textual Domination and History in a Muslim Society
In this innovative combination of anthropology, history, and postmodern theory, Brinkley Messick examines the changing relation of writing and authority in a Muslim society from the late nineteenth century to the present. The creation and interpretation of texts, from sacred scriptures to administrative and legal contracts, are among the fundamental ways that authority is established and maintained in a complex state. Yet few scholars have explored this process and the ways in which it changes, especially outside the Western world.
Messick brings together intensive ethnography and textual analysis from a wealth of material: Islamic jurisprudence, Yemeni histories, local documents. In exploring the structure and transformation of literacy, law, and statecraft in Yemen, he raises important issues that are of comparative significance for understanding political life in other Muslim and nonwestern states as well.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Genealogies of the Text
The Pen and the Sword
Relations of Interpretation
Evidence of the Word
Other editions - View all
Abd al-Rahman Abu Shuja activity Aden Ahmad al-'Amri al-Akwa al-Azhar al-Din al-Ghazzi al-Haddad al-Jirafi al-Juwayni al-Nawawi al-Qadi al-Shafi'i al-Shawkani al-Wasi'i appointed Arabic authoritative authority Basalama biographical century chapter commentary concerning contract darasa discursive district document early endowment example Faqih fatwas fiqh governor hadith haiba highlands historian Ibb governor Ibn Khaldun Ibn Samura ijtihad Imam Yahya important individual instruction intellectual interpretation Islamic Isma'il Jibla judge judgeship judicial jurists knowledge known legislation Lower Yemen madhhab madrasa Majalla manuals matn memorization ments Mosque mufti muftiship Muhammad Muslim muwajaha notary official oral Ottoman political practice Prophet qadi Quranic school recitational reference relation rule San‘a Sayyid Schacht scholarly scholars seal Serjeant and Lewcock Shafi'i shakwa Sharh shari'a shari'a court shari'a jurisprudence shaykh Sinna social specific Sunna Ta'izz teacher textual tion town translation transmission waqf witness writing written Zabara Zaidi Zaidi imams