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Counsel for Kings: Wisdom and Politics in Tenth-Century IranVolume I: The Nasihat al-muluk of Pseudo-Mawardi: Contexts and Themes$
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L. Marlow

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748696901

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748696901.001.0001

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Multiplicity and Rhetoric

Multiplicity and Rhetoric

(p.151) 5 Multiplicity and Rhetoric
Counsel for Kings: Wisdom and Politics in Tenth-Century Iran

L. Marlow

Edinburgh University Press

First in a series of chapters devoted to the religious-political context of Naṣīḥat al-mulūk, this chapter explores the confessional composition of the Samanid domains and the varied discourses related to religious cultures and the communities associated with them. Noting the region’s history of religious multiplicity, the chapter traces the inclusive approach to religious diversity evident in tenth-century encyclopaedic writings, as well as the contemporaneous production of a literature of refutation, directed against Muslim and non-Muslim groups. His mentality shaped by these factors, Pseudo-Māwardī emphasises the king’s need to develop skill in religious argumentation, particularly against heretics, whom he depicts as agents of political as well as religious dissent. After discussing paradigms of heterodoxy, the chapter ends with an account of the Ismāʿīlī mission active in the Samanid domains and its success in winning the support of the Amir Naṣr b. Aḥmad, during whose reign Naṣīḥat al-mulūk is likely to have been written, and whose conversion to Ismāʿīlism perhaps played a significant role in occasioning its composition.

Keywords:   religious diversity, encyclopaedist, refutation, heterodoxy, Ismāʿīlism

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