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Anthropomorphism in IslamThe Challenge of Traditionalism (700-1350)$
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Livnat Holtzman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780748689569

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748689569.001.0001

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The Narrator and the Narrative: A Literary Analysis of Aḥādīth al-Ṣifāt

The Narrator and the Narrative: A Literary Analysis of Aḥādīth al-Ṣifāt

(p.21) 1 The Narrator and the Narrative: A Literary Analysis of Aḥādīth al-Ṣifāt
Anthropomorphism in Islam

Livnat Holtzman

Edinburgh University Press

Based on the work of Daniel Beaumont and Sebastian Günther on Hadith and narratology, this chapter analyses three proto-types of aḥādīth al-ṣifāt while focusing on the basic building-blocks of these texts, namely the ‘framing narrative’, the ‘embedded narrative’, and the narrator. The texts reviewed in this chapter are several versions of ‘the ḥadīth of the beatific vision’, ‘the ḥadīth of the sacrifice in favour of the believer’, and ‘the ḥadīth of the divine fingers’. The chapter combines literary analysis with a thorough reading in the biographical sources. This combined methodology uncovers the personal motivations of the narrators of the aḥādīth in question, while demonstrating the effect of these motivations on the shaping of the narrative. This chapter presents the typical features of aḥādīth al-ṣifāt and reveals hidden meanings in the texts while considering two styles of narration: mimesis and diegesis, or showing (performing) and telling (recounting). Among the narrators under review are Abu Burda (d. c. 721-3), son of the ṣaḥābī Abu Musa al-Ashʿari (d. c. 663), and ʿAlqama (d. between 681 and 692) and ʿAbida (d. between 691 and 693), the disciples of the ṣaḥābī ʿAbd Allah ibn Masʿud (d. 652-3).

Keywords:   Hadith, narratology, framing narrative, embedded narrative, narrator, beatific vision, sacrifice, divine fingers, mimesis, diegesis

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