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Lecture: “Interreligious Polemics, Anti-Sufism, and Shī‘ī Intellectual History in Late Safavid Iran: the Contribution of ‘Alī Qulī Jadīd al-Islām (d. early 18th C.)” with Alberto Tiburcio (Philipps University of Marburg)

March 4, 2019 | 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Interreligious polemics, especially those from the post-classical period, are often dismissed as formulaic and unoriginal, with no more than a fringe testimonial value. In this talk, Alberto Tiburcio will argue that the polemical work of the Portuguese-born convert ‘Alī Qulī Jadīd al-Islām offers us a unique window into various facets of religious, political, and intellectual life in late Safavid Iran. Jadīd al-Islām’s work responds to a polemical cycle that linked late seventeenth/early eighteenth century Iran to early seventeenth century India and Rome. True to the Catholic upbringing and the acquired Shī‘ī zeal of its author, the work in question blends the historical tropes of the genre with Imami hadith and with intertextual references to Patristics, Ecclesiastical History, and even Trentine debates on the Latin Vulgate. Moreover, Jadīd al-Islām used his interreligious polemics to participate in the wave of anti-Sufi diatribes that flourished in the late Safavid period at a time of hostility against ‘irfān and scholastic philosophy. By looking at how all these components are blended together in Jadīd al-Islām’s work, this lecture proposes a reconsideration of the genre, in light of scholarly debates on the nature of sectarianism and the relation between religion and power in the early modern Middle East.

Sponsored by the UNC Department of Religious Studies. Please contact with questions.

Murphey Hall, room 115

UNC Chapel Hill


March 4, 2019
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
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Murphey Hall
Chapel Hill, NC United States
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