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The Religious Debates of Aceh in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century: An Invisible Cultural Dialogue?

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Abstract The religious polemics of seventeenth-century Aceh are usually presented as an indication of the high level of Islamic scholarship in this period. On the evidence of unpublished manuscripts, we will, on the contrary, defend the idea that these mystical debates took place between foreign Muslim missionaries, with little contact with the local population. The absence of cultural dialogue between local pre-Islamic religious ideas and Middle Eastern Sufism will lead us to a rethinking of the islamization process, in Aceh and the Malay world.


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