/

Nofal Faris

Apologetic treatises by Ibrāhīm al-‘Ayyah and the samaritan theology of the 18th century


Nofal Faris (2021) "Apologetic treatises by Ibrāhīm al-‘Ayyah and the samaritan theology of the 18th century ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2021, vol. 96, pp. 20-37 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI202196.20-37

Abstract

The article deals with an unpublished monument of Modern Time Samaritan theology, namely four apologetic treatises of the theologian, historian and poet Ibrāhīm al-ʻAyyah ad-Danfī (1715–1788) which are kept in the corpus of the British library. The article is preceded by a brief outline of the history of Arab Samaritan thought. It describes the infl uence of Arab-Muslim and Arab-Jewish cultures on such prominent Samaritan theologians as Munajjā b. Ṣadaqah, Ṣadaqah al-Ḥakīm, al-Ṣūrī, ʼAbū Saʻīd and others. This infl uence led to the emergence of the “Arab Targum” of the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Samaritan exegetical and philosophical-religious tradition. From the perspective of treatise text analysis, the author reconstructs biography of ad-Danfī and concludes that his religious and philosophic views depend on Medieval Arab and Muslim theology and, in particular, on speculative theology of Islam (Kalam). Besides, the article demonstrates that the scholar keeps Kalam theory of divine attributes, reproduces fatalistic constructions of Ashari’ and Maturidi’ scholars, adopts natural-philosophic concepts of some Mutazili’ thinkers and Arabspeaking peripatetics. Therefore, fi nally, he comes to rationalistic symbolic exegesis of Mutakalims of Classic period (VIII–XIV centuries). At the same time, Ibrāhīm, who stands for strict monotheism of Samaritan religion, strives to deny stereotypes, created by his contemporaries about their coreligionists. He opposes to Mutazili’, Judaic and Christian “heresies”, introduces Samaritan theology as an ally of Muslim traditionalism, a tradition, in his opinion, inspired by God, created by one of His messengers. Separately, the article shows the way that the theologian depends on Judaic traditions and prophetic Sunnah. Thus, al-ʻAyyah, in accordance with Hadithes by Muhammad and Midrashes ‘Genesis Rabbah’ and ‘Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer’, postulates imperishability of a human body part which serves to regenerate it during Resurrection of the dead. He also stands for the thesis about oneness of those bodies, which were smoldered to ashes and raised from the dead by God. Besides, the article discusses modern state and chances of Samaritan studies and, especially, of the research into the handwritten legacy of Samaritan theologians of XIII–XVIII centuries.

Keywords

Ibrāhīm al-ʻAyyah, Samaritan Pentateuch, Samaritans, Kalam, Mutazilites, Asharites, Medieval Arab Philosophy, Judaism

References

  1. Al-Ašʻarī, ʼAbū al-Ḥasan (1980) Maqālāt al-ʼIslāmiyyīn wa Iẖtilāf al-Muṣallīn [The Teachings of Muslims and The Debates between Those, Who Prayed]. Wiesbaden: F. Steiner (in Arabic).
  2. Al-Bāqillānī, ʼAbū Bakr (1957) Al-Tamhīd [The Prolegomena]. Beirut: al-Maktabah al-Šarqīyyah (in Arabic).
  3. Al-Buẖārī, Muḥammad (2018) Ṣaḥīḥ [The Authentic One]. Beirut: Muʼassasat al-Risālah (in Arabic).
  4. Al-Ghazālī, ʼAbū Ḥāmid. (1966) Tahāfut al-Falāsifah [The Incoherence of Falāsifah]. Cairo: Dār al-Maʻārif (in Arabic).
  5. Al-Jawziyyah, Ibn Qayyim (2003) Fāʼidah Jalīlah fi Qawāʻid al-ʼAsmāʼ al-Ḥusnā [The Great Benefit in God Names’ Rules]. Kuwait: Gharrās (in Arabic).
  6. Macdonald J. (1964) The Theology of the Samaritans. London: SCM Press.
  7. Ibn al-Nafīs (1987) Al-Risālah al-Kāmiliyyah fī al-Sīrah al-Nabawiyyah [Kāmil’s Treatise in Prophet’s Sīrah]. Cairo: Lijnat Iḥyāʼ al-Turāṯ al-ʼIslāmī (in Arabic).
  8. Ibn Nūr al-Dīn. (2012) Taysīr al-Bayān li-Aḥkām al-Qurʼān [The Simple Explanation of Quran’s Establishment]. Vol. 3. Damascus: Dār al-Nawādir (in Arabic).
  9. Kirmānī M. (1962) Yanābīʻ al-Ḥikmah [The Wells of Wisdom]. Vol. 2. Cairo: Maṭbaʻat al-Saʻādah (in Arabic).
  10. Nofal F. O. (2015) Ibrahim ibn Sayyar al-Nazzam. Moscow: YaSK, OOO “Sadra” (in Russian).
  11. Pummer R. (1987) The Samaritans. Leiden: Brill.
  12. Pummer R., Tal A. (1993) Samaritan Marriage Contracts and Deeds of Divorce. Vol. 1. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.
  13. Al-Rasī, al-Qāsim (2001) Majmū Rasāʼil [The Treatises]. Vol. 1. Sana: Dār al-Ḥikmah al- Yamāniyyah (in Arabic).
  14. Sajdi D. (2013) Nouveau Literacy in the Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Levant. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  15. Schwarb G. (2013) “Vestiges of Qaraite Translations in the Arabic Translation(s) of the Samaritan Pentateuch”. Intellectual History of the Islamicate World, vol. 1(1-2), pp. 115-157.
  16. Shehadeh H. (2010) “One Fifth of the Tiny Samaritan Community in Nablus Died in the Plague Epidemic of 1786”. The Samaritan Update, available at: http://shomron0.tripod.com/HaseebShehadehSynopses2010.pdf (06.12.2020).
  17. Al-Taftāzānī, Saʻd al-Dīn (1998) Šarḥ al-Maqāṣid [The Commentary on al-Maqāṣid]. Vol. 4. Beirut: ʻĀlam al-Kutub (in Arabic).
  18. (1989–2001) Al-Tarjamah al-ʻArabiyyah li-Tawrāt al-Sāmiriyyīn [Arab Translation of Samaritan Pentateuch]. Jerusalem: al-ʼAkādīmīyyah al-Waṭaniyyah al-Isrāʼīliyyah li-l-ʻUlūm wa al-Ādāb (in Arabic).
  19. Weigelt F. (2017) “Samaritan Bible Exegesis and its Relevance for Judaeo-Arabic Studies”, in: M. L. Hjälm (ed.) Senses of Scripture, Treasures of Tradition: The Bible in Arabic among Jews, Christian and Muslims, Leiden: Brill, pp. 198–239.
  20. Weigelt F. (2017) “Samaritan Bible Exegesis and its Relevance for Judaeo-Arabic Studies”, in: M. L. Hjälm (ed.) Senses of Scripture, Treasures of Tradition: The Bible in Arabic among Jews, Christian and Muslims, Leiden: Brill, pp. 198–239.

Information about the author

Nofal Faris


Place of work: Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences. 12/1 Goncharnaya Str., Moscow, 109240, Russian Federation;
Post: research fellow;
ORCID: 0000-0002-3163-4722;
Email: faresnofal@mail.ru.