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The Mu`tazila and Rational Theology

The Mu`tazila and Rational Theology

Keynote lecture by Wilferd Madelung, Laudian Professor of Arabic, Emeritus, University of Oxford, and recipient of the 18th Giorgio Levi Della Vida Award.

On May 10th 2007, the eighteenth Giorgio Levi Della Vida Medal for outstanding contributions to the field of Islamic studies was presented to Professor Wilferd Madelung. The award is given to individuals who have demonstrated a life-long commitment to scholarship, education and professional service in the field. The tradition established by CNES founder and first director Professor Gustav E. von Grunebaum calls for the Levi Della Vida awardee to convene an international conference on a topic of his or her choice and to invite colleagues to contribute papers which, along with the keynote presentation, are then prepared for publication.

A leading contemporary Islamicist, Wilferd Madelung has made significant contributions to modern scholarship on medieval Islamic communities and movements, including Twelver Shi`ism, Zaydism and Isma`ilism. Educated at the Universities of Cairo and Hamburg, he became Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Chicago in 1969 and Laudian Professor of Arabic at the University of Oxford in 1978. At present he is Senior Research Fellow with the Institute of Ismaili Studies. Among his recent publications are Religious Schools and Sects in Medieval Islam (London, 1985), Religious Trends in Early Islamic Iran (Albany, NY, 1988), Religious and Ethnic Movements in Medieval Islam (Hampshire, 1992), The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate (Cambridge, 1997) and, with Paul E. Walker, An Ismaili Heresiography (Leiden, 1998). He has contributed extensively to the Encyclopaedia of Islam and the Encyclopaedia Iranica for which he is also a consulting editor. In 2003 he was honored by a Festschrift, Culture and Memory in Medieval Islam, edited by Farhad Daftary and Josef W. Meri.

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