Patterns of Argumentation and Rhetorical Devices in the Legal and Theological Works of Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya


Institut für Islamwissenschaft

GIF (German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development)
01.01.2011 — 31.12.2014
Birgit Krawietz

A Research Proposal


Livnat Holtzman, PhD, Bar Ilan University


Birgit Krawietz, PhD, Freie Universitaet Berlin



Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292-1350), one of the most prolific scholars of the Hanbalī school of law and theology, is the author of unique and indispensable works, yet his literary contribution is still underresearched. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya's works transgress bounds of genre and call for an interdisciplinary reading. This kind of reading has never materialized, and the very scarce number of scholarly works on Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya focuses on one aspect, either legal or theological, of his works, depending on the expertise of the researcher who reads them.

This research aims to detect and analyze modes and patterns of legal and theological argumentations through a close, contextualized and interdisciplinary reading in Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya's major works. This reading will be brought about through systematically stitching together the research activities of two complementary working teams: the German research team analyzing Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya's legal works, and the Israeli research team analyzing his theological works.

We claim that only such combined effort can get closer to fully understand the complexity of Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya's works. The following questions illuminate this point. Is it possible to detect the political and historical circumstances, to which Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya insinuates in his writings?  To what extent did Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya depart from Ibn Taymiyya in doctrinal issues? Why does he insert legal discussions in his theological works, and vice versa? Does he use poetry merely as mnemonics or does poetry serve an important role in his writing? By answering these and related questions, the present research will contribute to a comprehensive evaluation and understanding of Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya's theological and legal thought.