Islamic Legal Genres – Walter Edward Young

On August 25, 2021, Walter Edward Young (McGill University) presented “Form, Function, and Historical Development of Genres of Juristic Dialectic.” Young discussed the topic of juristic dialectic, in Arabic, ʿilm al-jadal wal-khilāf, and he noted that premodern and modern Muslim scholars have discussed dialectical theories under the terms munāẓara and baḥth as well as. Young divides the process by which juristic dialectic developed into three main periods. He offered a close reading of a representative text from each period, exhibiting the developments in dialectical theories and methods: the first characterized by the development of a full-system theory of dialogical teaching and practices, the second where the dialogical debates became systematized into a dialectical theory and grew infused with theories of logic, and the third being the rise of adab al-baḥth wal-munāẓara. Overall, Young argued that dialectical pressures consistently influenced questions of private ijtihād. Read more on our blog and watch the video today.