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Kalamopod

Kalamopod

By Hannah C. Erlwein
A podcast on themes in classical Islamic theology (kalam), hosted by Hannah C. Erlwein, PhD

This podcast introduces some of the themes and problems which classical Islamic theologians discussed. It covers how the science of kalam came about; what aims and concerns its practitioners had; how they defended their activity and methods against the detractors of kalam; and finally what sorts of arguments and methods of knowledge making the science of kalam rested on.

Video version available at: www.youtube.com/channel/UCRJPeJen2Iw_-SpxRu5L0QA
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Currently playing episode

Kalamopod | Episode 1 "Setting the Stage"

Kalamopod

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Kalamopod | Episode 12 "Interview with David Thomas: Interreligious Polemics"
David Thomas, an emeritus professor of Christianity and Islam at the University of Birmingham, is speaking to us about encounters between Islamic theologians and theologians of other faiths. He is giving us an insight into the attacks levelled by al-Baqillani, a 10th-century Islamic theologian, against Christian doctrines such as the Incarnation. David wrote a book entitled "Christian Doctrines in Islamic Theology" (Brill 2008).   Many thanks, David, for the interesting interview! Music by: Mystery Bazaar Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)  Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
22:04
March 21, 2022
Kalamopod | Episode 11 "Who Got It Right? Interreligious Polemics"
In this episode, we will look at how, in the wake of the expansion of the Islamic empire, Islamic theologians came into contact with adherents of other faiths. This propelled them to engage in interreligious debates and polemics. Sometimes they debated vigorously, seeking to expose what they considered inconsistencies and sheer absurdities in other faiths; and sometimes they approached adherents of other faiths with great interest and the wish to learn... Music by: Mystery Bazaar Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
16:13
February 28, 2022
Kalamopod | Episode 10 "I Believe in Miracles since You Came Along"
In this episode, we will look at how Islamic theologians thought Muhammad's claims to prophethood could be vindicated. By a miracle, they asserted, like in the case of all prophets before Muhammad! But what exactly did Muhammad's miracle consist in? The theologians gave different answers... Music by: Mystery Bazaar Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 
15:40
December 13, 2021
Kalamopod | Episode 9 "Should I Stay or Should I Go? Two Ethical Theories"
In this episode, we will look at how Islamic theologians came to puzzle their heads over the many commandments and prohibtions which the Quran contains. Taking a step back from the activity of the jurists, who tried to figure out the legal status of this or that action, the theologians asked some more fundamental questions: Where do moral values actually come from, and how do we know of them? From God's revelation, in which He tells humans how He wants them to live? Or do we humans have the ability to know what is good conduct, independent of revelation? The answers given by two important theological schools could not have been more different... Music by: Mystery Bazaar Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
20:15
November 22, 2021
Kalamopod | Episode 8 "I Am That I Am: the Divine Attributes"
In this episode, we will look at how the mutakallimun argued God's attributes could be known. They agreed that God is not knowable as the physical world around us is, we cannot just look at God to know His attributes - so they employed a different method... And once they started to investigate the divine attributes, they had plenty of opportunity to dig ever deeper and ask more and more detailed questions! Music by: Mystery Bazaar Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
19:56
August 02, 2021
Kalamopod | Episode 7 "Books, Buildings, and the World… Analogies Everywhere!"
In this episode, we will look at how the disagreement among Ash'arite and Mu'tazilite mutakallimun about human agency caused them to wonder whether the whole enterprise of kalam was at risk and would crumble like a house of cards. What was at stake was the effectiveness of a certain form of argument which many early mutakallimun frequently used to prove that the world was created by God: analogical reasoning. For, was one justified to draw an analogy between humans as agents and God as agent if one did not actually believe that humans ARE agents? Tricky...! Music by: Mystery Bazaar Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
18:15
July 19, 2021
Kalamopod | Episode 6 "When God Creates... Natural Causality and Human Agency"
In this episode, we will look at how the mutakallimun zoomed in on the central theological problem of God's role as creator of the world. They didn't simply affirm that God created the world at some point in the past and from nothing, but they wanted to affirm also that God was continously involved in creation. This led them to deny natural causality. Some of them even went so far as to deny that humans are real agents, in a bid to defend God's control over all of creation - while others considered the denial of human agency a preposterous notion... Music by: Mystery Bazaar Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
18:33
July 05, 2021
Kalamopod | Episode 5 "Kalam in Action: Proving Creation and the Creator"
In this episode, we are looking at one of the trickiest theological problems which the practitioners of the science of kalam investigated. This is the proof that the world is created by God. The kalam proofs were prompted by the many Quranic verses that declare God to be the world's creator - but the mutakallimun had to figure out what precisely the Quran meant by this, and this task was made ever more complicated by their encounters with adherents of other faiths who had their very own ideas of God's relationship to the world... Music by: Mystery Bazaar Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ 
17:29
June 21, 2021
Kalamopod | Episode 4 "To Do or Not To Do Kalam, That is the Question" II
In this episode, we are looking at an epistle written by the 10th-century theologian, Abu'l-Hasan al-Ash'ari, and fittingly entitled "A Vindication of the Science of Kalam". Al-Ash'ari not only tells us about the arguments of the detractors of kalam, who despise it as "baleful innovation" - but he also tells us all the reasons why they are clearly wrong... Music by: Mystery Bazaar Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
23:00
June 07, 2021
Kalamopod | Episode 3 "To Do or Not To Do Kalam, That Is the Question" I
In this episode, we are looking at an inquisition (mihna) which the Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun instigated in the year 833. One group of scholars, the muhaddithun, fell victim to the inquisition, while another group of scholars, the practitioners of kalam, benefited from it. At the heart of the inquisition was a single theological question: Was the Quran created or uncreated? - But what was the caliph trying to achieve with his inquisition? What was at stake? Music by:  Mystery Bazaar Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
27:20
May 24, 2021
Kalamopod | Episode 2 "A New Science Has Arisen"
In this episode, we are looking at different academic theories of the emergence of the science of kalam and its characteristic debating style. We will also hear about the teachings of one early theological group, the Qadariyya, which brought them into conflict with political authorities.  Music by: Mystery Bazaar Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
24:42
May 10, 2021
Kalamopod | Episode 1 "Setting the Stage"
In this episode, we are looking at the emergence of Islam in 7th-century Arabia and some of the theological themes that define the Quranic message. This will help us set the stage for when we dive deep into the ocean of classical Islamic theology in the many episodes to come. Music by:  Mystery Bazaar Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
21:05
April 26, 2021