Ibn Ḥanbal’s Refutation of the Jahmiyya A Textual History

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Andrew G. McLaren



This article documents the main developments in the textual history of a short polemical treatise ascribed to Aḥmad Ibn Ḥanbal (d. 241/855), al-Radd ʿalā al-zanādiqa wa-l-jahmiyya. In particular, I show that three different, if related, recensions of the text exist in manuscript. Then, drawing on evidence from the text and biobibliographical sources, I show that al-Radd only emerged over several centuries. The idea for the text finds its roots in the earlist elaborations of Hanbali theology, perhaps even in the notebooks of Ibn Ḥanbal himself. The first recension of the text, however, only emerged after the mid-fourth/tenth century in Baghdad. Another recension appears at the beginning of the sixth/twelfth century, perhaps also in Baghdad. These recensions were combined to form a third recension no later than the eighth/fourteenth century, and it is the third recension that became the basis for most print editions of the work.

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