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New Volume In Islamic Translation Series


Daniel Peterson

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I just want to announce that BYU's Middle Eastern Texts Initiative (my baby) has just published its latest volume:

Abu Hatim al-Razi. The Proofs of Prophecy. Tarif Khalidi, trans. Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 2011. (Pp. xxiii + 243 [Arabic] + 266 [English]).

It's an account of a debate between a famous Isma‘ili Shi‘ite missionary named Abu Hatim al-Razi (d. AD 933) and the even more famous heretical philosopher and physician Abu Bakr al-Razi (d. AD 925), who was known in the Latin West as Rhazes.. (The designator al-Razi signifies a connection with the city of Rayy, essentially modern day Tehran.)

It's a debate about the prophethood of Muhammad, which Abu Hatim affirmed and Abu Bakr denied. Abu Hatim clearly has the upper hand in the debate . . . but then, he's the one giving us the account.

METI books are distributed by the University of Chicago Press.

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Yes. He thought that Jesus, Moses, and Muhammad were all equally liars. He was ecumenical in his disbelief.

Interestingly, though, he wasn't an atheist.

And it says something significant, I think, about the specific Islamic society in which he lived that, despite his outspoken rejection of Islam, he lived a reasonably long life and prospered as a prominent physician.

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How did you come to pick that book? I know you all are trying to make arabic books available in English so westerners can know what Middle Easterners know in the same way that they can read western literature. But do they have something like the 100 great books or a list of what every school kid learns?

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I wish there were such a list.

No, we're simply accepting and recruiting as opportunity presents itself. My long-term goal, though, is to generate precisely such a list and work more systematically.

We had one proposal to systematically publish the major works of al-Farabi, who is, quite indisputably, one of the three most prominent philosophers in the Islamic tradition -- but, alas, the fellow with whom we were going to partner on that project died very suddenly and rather young just a few months ago.

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I just want to announce that BYU's Middle Eastern Texts Initiative (my baby) has just published its latest volume:

Abu Hatim al-Razi. The Proofs of Prophecy. Tarif Khalidi, trans. Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 2011. (Pp. xxiii + 243 [Arabic] + 266 [English]).

It's an account of a debate between a famous Isma‘ili Shi‘ite missionary named Abu Hatim al-Razi (d. AD 933) and the even more famous heretical philosopher and physician Abu Bakr al-Razi (d. AD 925), who was known in the Latin West as Rhazes.. (The designator al-Razi signifies a connection with the city of Rayy, essentially modern day Tehran.)

It's a debate about the prophethood of Muhammad, which Abu Hatim affirmed and Abu Bakr denied. Abu Hatim clearly has the upper hand in the debate . . . but then, he's the one giving us the account.

METI books are distributed by the University of Chicago Press.

Why, it will be banned?

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