Ghaz li and the ash'arites

Asian Philosophy 6 (1):17 – 27 (1996)
Abstract It has been widely accepted that the thought of al?Ghaz?li was broadly in line with the Ash'arite approach to theology, which came to have a dominant role in Islamic thought for the last thousand years. Recently, though, many commentators have argued that this is a misconception, and that there are many instances where Ghaz?li produces arguments and opinions which are not compatible with Ash'arism. It is argued here that these examples do not establish that the general line of Ghaz?li's thought is not Ash'arite. The fact that on occasion he is prepared to use the language of his opponents does not invalidate the Ash'arite basis of his thought. It is quite possible to adhere to a philosophical view about how reality is and at the same time use the language of those who have a different view without committing oneself to that different form of expression. Although the revisionist approach to the interpretation of Ghaz?li is interesting and often perceptive, it does not lead to any necessity to question his adherence to Ash'arite principles in general
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