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The Reception of the ‘Satanic Verses’ Story in the Works of Early Shi‘ite Scholars (9th – 12th c. CE)

  • Sean Anthony
Tuesday 20 February 2018
Free to visit
Spring Lecture Series in Shiʿi Studies
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden
Salman Rushdie and his controversy-sparking 'The Satanic Verses' (© The Guardian)

Early sources on the satanic verses

Of the many episodes in the prophet Muḥammad’s life, the so-called ‘satanic verses’ incident has garnered a truly astonishing level of notoriety in public discourse in recent times—thanks no doubt to the bit part it played in the Rushdie Affair from 1989 onwards. However, only last year, in 2017, has a scholar working out of the Western academy published a study of the ‘satanic verses’ incident that aims at a comprehensive account: Shahab Ahmed’s posthumous Before Orthodoxy. Ahmed’s work is extraordinarily prodigious; however, despite the work’s erudition, it’s also surprisingly narrow. Ahmed neglects early Shiʿite sources almost entirely. This talk presents the earliest relevant Shiʿite sources as a corrective to the main thesis and aims to illuminate how they cast considerable light on the ‘satanic verses’ incident.

About Sean Anthony

Sean Anthony is Associate Professor at the Ohio State University's Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. He obtained his PhD with honors at The University of Chicago, writing a dissertation titled The Caliph and the Heretic: ʿAbdallāh ibn Sabaʾ, the Sabaʾīya, and the Origins of Shīʿism between Myth and History.

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