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Hermeneutical Techniques

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Chapter Summary

The analysis in this chapter begins with a discussion of some recurring technical terms and general hermeneutical principles that apply across Shāfiʿῑ's various hermeneutical rubrics. Shāfiʿῑ's individual hermeneutical rubrics show how, at the level of discrete problems of legal reasoning, the source texts can combine to express coherent rules. Using his technical vocabulary and reasoning techniques, Shāfiʿῑ's demonstrates that no textual problem is too difficult to be explained and resolved. Individual problems can be organized according to hermeneutical rubrics, and these rubrics then lend themselves to further orderly classification according to modes of source interaction, the primary architectural feature of the divine law. Through his application of these various hermeneutical techniques to discrete problems, Shāfiʿῑ's is able both to justify individual norms and reveal a profound coherence in the structure of the law, a structure that conforms to his concept of the bayān.

Keywords: bayān; hermeneutical techniques; Shāfiʿῑ



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