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The Spirit and the Letter


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About the Author

Annabel Keeler is an Affiliated Researcher at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and a Research Associate of Wolfson College, both at the University of Cambridge. Her research interests include Sufi exegesis, early to 'classical' Islamic mysticism, Persian literature and prophetology. She is the author of Sufi Hermeneutics: the Qur'an Commentary of Rashid al-Din Maybudi (London, 2006) and co-translator of the commentary of Sahl al-Tustari, under the title, Tafsir al-Tustari (Kentucky, 2011). She is currently working on a monograph on the third/ninth century mystic Abu Yazid al-Bistami and continuing her comparative study of Sufi commentaries on Surat Yusuf. Sajjad Rizvi is Associate Professor of Islamic Intellectual History at the University of Exeter. Trained as a historian at Oxford and Cambridge, he has previously taught at the universities of Cambridge and Bristol. A specialist of Islamic thought in the Persianate East, he is the author of Mulla Sadra Shirazi (Oxford, 2007) and Mulla Sadra and Metaphysics (London, 2009), and is currently working on a study of the same thinker's noetics. His future projects include a comparative history of philosophy in the Persianate eighteenth century, and an intellectual history of Islamic philosophical traditions in India from 1500 to 1900.


Keeler, Rizvi, and their authors have undoubtedly made a major achievement in bringing such a wide variety of sources together in The Spirit and the Letter. Aside from the fact that the articles they've collected span enough traditions and periods to appeal to Islamic studies scholars of a variety of different stripes, their ability to find terms that can coherently render such a variety comprehensible is in its own right a major contribution to the field. * Robert Landau Ames, Reading Religion *
This unique volume brings together a set of fascinating and methodologically sophisticated studies on a wide variety of esoteric approaches to the Qur'an. These collectively display the rich diversity of literary genres and authors engaged in esoteric exegesis in the Islamic tradition. Beginning with a comprehensive and incisive intellectual history of Sufi, Shi'i and philosophical exegesis, the volume offers both fresh readings of familiar works, and serious introductions to others. * Maria M. Dakake, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, George Mason University *
This is the first major work on the key mystics and theologians who composed esoteric commentaries on the Qur'an. Fifteen erudite contributions by some of the most eminent authorities in the field of Muslim philosophy, Shi'i exegesis, Ismaili thought, Akbarian theosophy and Sufism, explore over a millennium of esoteric commentators and commentaries on the Qur'an. Accompanied by an introduction that exhaustively examines the various intellectual trends, theological schools and theosophical terminology relating to mystical exegesis of the Qur'an, The Spirit and the Letter provides the most accessible treatment of the inner dimension of Muslim scriptural hermeneutics written to date. * Leonard Lewisohn, Senior Lecturer in Persian, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter *

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