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Friday, April 18, 2014

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Conference looks at Islamic theologian, April 8-10

The life, thought and historical legacy of theologian Ibn Taymiyyah will be explored in a conference Friday through Sunday, April 8-10, in the Friend Center Convocation Room.

Titled "Ibn Taymiyyah and His Times," the event is expected to draw scholars from around the world to discuss this man who, although he died nearly 700 years ago, has been a major influence on the intellectual history of Islam in the 20th century.

Ibn Taymiyyah (1263-1328) wrote on every major subject of religious discourse in Islamic intellectual history, from Quranic exegesis and Sufism to political theory and inter-religious polemic. He also is regarded as the primary architect of the concept of Salafism, which aims to reform Islam through the example of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions.

Some scholars have dismissed Ibn Taymiyyah's contribution as a rigid dogmatic agenda, and noted his modern appropriation by radical Islamist groups. Others claim that the current emphasis on Ibn Taymiyyah's doctrine of jihad amounts to a misinterpretation of his singularly original legacy.

The conference talks will cover Ibn Taymiyyah's theology and jurisprudence, the historical context in which he lived, and the ways in which his ideas were received and rendered over the last century.

The event is organized by the Department of Near Eastern Studies and funded by a grant from the Mellon Foundation. For a schedule and further details, visit the conference Web site online.

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