the Courage of Hallaj

Friday, July 2, 2010

Well my paper for the AEMA (Australian Early Medieval Association) November Conference in Perth has been accepted. I've been reading lots of Peter Brown and Hallaj at the same time and noticed some very interesting connections. The abstract:
The martyrdom of Mansur al-Hallaj in Baghdad in 922CE was the culmination of a spiritual journey involving frequent courageous provocation of the Islamic state authority. Hallaj persistently demanded martyrdom, but was only killed when his presence became too destabilizing. In many ways Hallaj is a variant of Peter Brown’s “holy man”, occupying a unique space between the community and the divine, often at odds with official religion. He is also a pivotal figure in Islam for a number of reasons, including his extremely influential marginality which defines the limits of acceptable Sufism, and his unusual death by crucifixion near the date of Easter, possibly due to his miracles and Christian sympathies. Hallaj’s peculiar position exemplifies the quest for authentic individual spirituality in the face of growing institutionalisation. His courageous martyrdom provides a significant alternative exemplar to the current stereotypical violent martyr.

2 comments:

Justin said...

Will you make the paper available online? This sounds like interesting reading. By the way, you have excellent taste in blog layouts ;)

Teehee! Yours was the best layout I found.
Re: the paper- I'll have to check the rules for the AEMA/conference because they all get published in a journal. Worst case I think i can post it after the journal comes out.

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