The panel was organised by Dr Teresa Bernheimer of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), who, until recently, was a Visiting Research Fellow at the IIS. Professor Roy Mottahedeh of Harvard University chaired the panel.
Dr Teresa Bernheimer’s paper compared the formulations of authority among ‘Alid dynasties of the ninth and tenth century from a socio-historical perspective, with a particular emphasis on their claims to Prophetic descent. Her research was based on newly available historical and genealogical sources and numismatic material.
Dr Toby Mayer’s paper analysed Shahrastani’s concept of the Prophet’s Household as protectors of the Qur’an’s higher meanings, elaborated in his commentary ‘Keys to the Arcana’. In this work, he presents a detailed system of complementary concepts underlying the entire Qur’anic text. This framework, supposedly transmitted by the lineage of the Prophet, not only functions as a scriptural hermeneutic but also as a ‘philosophy’ on which basis Shahrastani challenges Ibn Sina’s thought in Struggling with the Philosopher.
MESA book exhibit
All IIS publications were on display at the popular MESA book exhibit, located adjacent to the main MESA conference hall. Patricia Salazar and Nadia Holmes, two editors from the Department of Academic Research and Publications, were there to distribute catalogues and provide information about the books and the work of the Institute to academics, authors, publishers, students, researchers and other conference attendees.