Sixth/Twelfth-Century Zaydī Theologians of Yemen Debating Avicennan Philosophy
This article offers critical editions of three texts by Zaydī theologians of sixth/twelfth-century Yemen refuting philosophical notions. The three texts are Qāḍī Jaʿfar b. Aḥmad b. ʿAbd al-Salām al-Buhlūlī’s (d. 573/1177–78) Kitāb al-Risāla al-munāṣifa li-l-mutakallimīn wa-l-falāsifa (Masʾalat al-nafs) and two tracts by al-Ḥasan al-Raṣṣāṣ (d. 584/1188), Masʾala fī ibṭāl al-qawl bi-talāzum al-hayūlā wa-l-ṣūra wa-anna l-jism murakkab minhumā, a refutation of hylomorphism, and al-Masʾala al-kāshifa ʿan buṭlān shubhat al-falāsifa, a refutation of the philosophers’ doctrine of the eternity of the world. Qāḍī Jaʿfar’s tract, of which only a fragment has come down to us, contains four extensive quotations from an unidentified philosophical work. These are strikingly similar to those cited by Rukn al-Dīn Ibn al-Malāḥimī (d. 536/1141) in his Tuḥfat al-mutakallimīn fī l-radd ʿalā l-falāsifa; likewise, Qāḍī Jaʿfar’s responses to the arguments of the philosophers closely resemble those given by Ibn al-Malāḥimī. However, a comparison of the relevant passages shows that the possibility that Qāḍī Jaʿfar had consulted Ibn al-Malāḥimī’s Tuḥfa as his source can safely be excluded. Both rather seemed to have relied on a common and so far unidentified source, possibly written by a Muʿtazilī author. Qāḍī Jaʿfar’s tract is thus another early Muʿtazilī critique of Avicennan philosophy that can shed some additional light on the reception of Ibn Sīnā’s (d. 428/1037) philosophy among the mutakallimūn before Ibn al-Malāḥimī.