A History of Rule by Divine Law among Semitic Cultures

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Historia

Sammanfattning: This is a comparative study of several widespread and canonical texts from the lowlands of the Middle East and North Africa, with regard to historically reoccurring interconnected traits of ideal state structure among cultures, where Semitic languages have been main languages of communication from the 18th century BC to the modern day. The study is of reoccurring ideals of state structure with defined limits and causes for its existence across several Semitic speaking cultures. The study’s extent stretches from the code of Hammurabi during the 18th century BC to the modern day, and it includes more than ten text collections among four different cultures as well as a modern text for what can be seen as a modern example of reoccurring traits. In this study, geography, phases of establishment of civilizations and interconnectivity among the cultures through a lens of cultural Darwinism based upon ideas proposed by Richard Dawkins has been used. This study draws inspiration from studies done by the historians Patricia Crone and Martin Hinds among others. The study focuses upon systems based upon holy law from the divine and arrives at the conclusion of the existence of several reoccurring ideals throughout history, due to a shared overarching context among several of the cultures promoting a reoccurring development and survival of these ideals. These ideals include a rulership, of a chosen holy lineage, limited and defined by divine law, as opposed to ideals of absolutist oriental despotism common to older models, and a judiciary class of men of religion interpreting the law coming from the divine and controlling the rulership through it with concepts such as nomination. The study took into account the extent and limits of the reoccurring ideals in the peripheral of the context that was assumed to have created the reoccurring ideal. It did this by studying the political ideals of the foundational 10th century text Kitāb al-Tawḥīd from Central Asia within the Māturīdīya school of Sunni Islamic theology, which became the dominant theology within the later Ottoman Empire 1298- 1924 AD. This focus upon Kitāb al-Tawḥīd was to study the limits of the context for the tendency towards the ideals with a different geography and cultural influence creating a different context for survival and development of ideals. The conclusion was that the ideals of Kitāb al-Tawḥīd is a syncretism between ideals of rule by divine law and local influences, which reflected a different context. This context determined the ideals that survived and demonstrated the geographical and cultural limitations for possibilities of a tendency of reoccurring ideals based upon divine law outside the Middle East and North Africa.

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