Zaydi Adaptations of the Sunni Tradition in Yemen: The Case of Qur'an Commentaries

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A lecture with Scott Lucas (University of Arizona)

The small Zaydi branch of Shi‘ism has a rich, dynamic tradition of religious scholarship. Zaydis long have been a minority in the larger Sunni Muslim communities in both Iran (prior to 1500) and Yemen. Despite their classification as Shi‘ites, Zaydi scholars engaged with a wide range of legal, theological, and ethical books composed by Sunnis. This talk will explore the significant role of Sunni Qur’an commentaries in Yemeni Zaydi exegesis in order to shed light on how adherents to a minority Muslim tradition successfully adapted religious texts written by scholars of the Sunni majority for their own scholarly needs.

Scott Lucas is associate professor of Islamic Studies in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He has published articles and a book on Sunni hadith and law, as well as a two-volume translation of selections from al-Tabari's famous Qur'an commentary. Since 2016, Professor Lucas has been conducting research on the Zaydi intellectual traditions in Yemen, based primarily on Arabic manuscripts. His research has been supported by an ACLS Fellowship and a membership in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

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Published: Thursday, April 15, 2021