Journal of Islamic Studies 32 (1):62-115 (2021)

Fetva collections are important sources for Islamic legal history. However, few scholars have considered a particular collection of fetvas or the fetvas of an individual jurist as specific areas of legal and historical exploration. Instead, most researchers use fetvas selectively and instrumentally, that is in small groups, and in their explorations of various other topics. This article proposes computational methodologies that could characterize the contents of a 6,000-fetva corpus by an important Ottoman jurist, Şeyhülislam Ebussuud Efendi, to reveal its substantive composition and range. The article conceptualizes a previously uncharted textual space in a way similar to how a map depicts a geographical one. By doing so, it also provides insights into Ebussuud’s jurisprudential legacy and the major socio-legal concerns and anxieties in the Ottoman Empire during the sixteenth century.
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DOI 10.1093/jis/etaa032
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