Professor Ahmed El Shamsy (University of Chicago): Is Islamic law ethical?

Afternoon Talk on Islamic Law

  • Date: Aug 25, 2022
  • Time: 04:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Location: online

A video of the lecture is available here:

Professor Ahmed El Shamsy (University of Chicago): Is Islamic law ethical?

Guest Lecture as part of the series “Afternoon Talks on Islamic Law” on 25 August 2022.

© Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law


About the speaker
Ahmed El Shamsy is professor of Islamic thought at the University of Chicago. He studies the premodern Islamic disciplines, particularly law and theology, and the history of the Arabic book. His first book, The Canonization of Islamic Law: A Social and Intellectual History, traces the transformation of Islamic law from a primarily oral tradition to a systematic written discipline in the eighth and ninth centuries. In his second book, Rediscovering the Islamic Classics: How Editors and Print Culture Transformed an Intellectual Tradition, he shows how Arab editors and intellectuals in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries used the newly adopted medium of printing to rescue classical Arabic texts from oblivion and to popularize them as the classics of Islamic thought.

About the topic
Islamic law is anchored in divine commands, but are these commands ethical? This presentation will sketch premodern Muslim debates on the twin agendas of following God's precepts and establishing an ethical legal order that serves human interests.

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