Authority and Political Culture in Shi'ism
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The major theme of this book is authority in Shi`ism with special emphasis on its institutionalization in different historic periods from the beginning of Shi`ism in the Middle Ages to the present.
Part I presents new material on important or neglected issues that are at the center of current scholarly debate, including the fundamental relationship between knowledge and authority in pristine Shi`ism, aspects of popular culture in medieval Shi`ism, the institutionalization of religious authority in Shi`ite Iran from the 16th to 18th centuries, and the centralization of religious authority in the 19th century. The editor provides an analysis of the ideological revolution in Shi`ism during the 1970s and 1980s. Important documents and primary sources have been selected for Part II representing the major trends in the history of Shi`ism. With two exceptions, these sources have neither been available in English translation nor easily accessible in the original Arabic or Persian. An extensive introduction by the editor effectively connects Parts I and II of the book.
Said Amir Arjomand is Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.