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Khojazada on al-Ghazali's Criticism of the Philosophers' Proof of the Existence of God

Bursa Büyükşehir Belediyesi
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  • Department Of The Languages And Cultures Of The Near And Middle East
  • Philosophy
  • Religious Science


Uluslararası Hocazâde Sempozyumu sa yf a 14 1 Khojazãda on al-Ghazãlì’s Criticism of the Philosophers’ Proof of the Existence of God Introduction Khojazāda (d. 893/1488) did not choose to write his Tahāfut al- Falāsifa of his own accord. He was commissioned to do so by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II (r. 848/1444-850/1446 and 855/1451- 886/1481),1 and when commissioned by the sultan, scholars normally obliged. Neither the theme, “the floundering of the philosophers”, nor al-Ghazālī’s four-centuries-old text, are starting points that the author himself would have elected for a book project. He was much more interested in refining the philosophico-theological system of later Ashʿarism set out in highly developed expositions in al-Iṣfahānī’s (d. 749/1348) Maṭāliʿ al-Anẓār, a commentary on al-Bayḍāwī’s (d. 716/1316) Ṭawāliʿ al- Anwār, al-Jurjānī’s (d. 816/1413) commentary on al-Ījī’s (d. 756/1355) Mawāqif, and al-Taftāzānī’s (d. 793/1390) Sharḥ al-Maqāṣid, on the first two of which he wrote incomplete glosses. Anachronistic though it may be, the choice was perfectly consonant with what many patrons of scholarship were after: stimulating debates involving diametrically-opposed opponents, much like duels. Al-Ghazālī’s book was chosen, not because the contents were of outstanding philosophical interest for ninth/fifteenth-century thinkers – as we will see, the contrary appears to be the case – but because this work written by this highly respected figure had an almost legendary status. It originated from the dawn of neo-Ashʿarism, at a time when philosophers were still philosophers and kalām theologians still theologians. For once, a later Ashʿarī philosopher- theologian had to abandon his hair-splitting niceties, so utterly boring and 1 As this paper appears in a volume dedicated to Khojazāda, please refer to other chapters of the volume for background information on the author and the

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