The Formation of Islamic Hermeneutics

This monograph started out as my dissertation at Emory University, but doubled in size and was revised several times before it was finally published. It reconstructs the history of the 8th- to 11th-century development of the linguistic and hermeneutical aspects of Sunni legal theory (uṣūl al-fiqh).

The Formation of Islamic Hermeneutics: How Sunni Legal Theorists Imagined a Revealed Law. American Oriental Series, ed. Stephanie W. Jamison, no. 93. New Haven, Connecticut: American Oriental Society, 2011.

It is available here from Eisenbraun’s, which is now an imprint of Penn State University Press (344 pages, cloth, $52.50, ISBN 9780940490314).

I have created a color timeline (pdf) that maps out the individuals and movements studied in the book, on a continuum from those whose hermeneutic emphasizes the clarity of language to those who emphasize its ambiguity.

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