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Method in Madness: Recontextualizing the Destruction of Churches in the Fatimid Era

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The reign of al-Hakim bi-ʾAmr Allah (r. 996-1021) is often dismissed as a psychotic blip in the history of multiconfessional relations in the medieval Islamic world. Al-Hakim infamously embarked on a large-scale destruction of churches in his realm, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. This article draws on a variety of sources to argue that rather than being reductively attributable to a personal psychological imbalance, al-Hakim’s dramatically negative treatment of churches signaled a general shift from an esoteric form of Ismaili Shiʿism to one more appealing to the broader Islamic umma.

10.1163/22118993-0301P0007
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/content/journals/10.1163/22118993-0301p0007
2013-01-01
2018-04-23

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