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Nusrat Amin’s ‘Treasury of Knowledge’: Exploring the Shi`ite Qur’an Commentary of a 20th Century Female Scholar

Join us in the Meeting Room for a free lecture by Dr. Maria Massi Dakake, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at George Mason University.

Nusrat Amin was one of only two women to attain the rank of mujtahidah in 20th-century Iran, and was the author of several substantial works, including a 15-volume verse-by-verse commentary on the Qur’an. Religiously conservative herself, she is often celebrated by the religious establishment in Iran as an example of a traditional woman able to reach an extraordinary level of intellectual and religious achievement. She has attracted the attention of some Western scholars, but primarily as an unusual example of female religious authority in Shi`ism. Little attention has been paid by either Iranian or Western scholars to a critical examination of her Qur’an commentary. In this talk, Dr. Dakake hopes to offer some insight into the distinctiveness of her approach to Qur’anic exegesis as a woman writing within a tradition entirely dominated by the works of male scholars.

This talk is one of a series supported by the Imam Ali Chair for the Study of Shi’i Islam and Dialogue Among Islamic Legal Schools.

About the Speaker

Maria Massi Dakake holds a B.A. from Cornell University (1990) and an M.A. (1998) and Ph.D. (2000) in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University, and is currently Associate Professor of Religious Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. She is the director of the undergraduate interdisciplinary Islamic Studies program at GMU, and is a founding member and former co-director of the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies. Her research interests and publications lie in the fields of Islamic intellectual history, with a particular interest in Qur’anic studies, Shi`ite and Sufi mystical traditions, and in women’s religious experiences. She is associate editor and co-author of The Study Qur’an (2015), and author of The Charismatic Community: Shi`ite Identity in Early Islam (SUNY Press, 2008). She is currently completing work on a co-edited volume with Daniel Madigan and George Archer, the Routledge Companion to the Qur’an, and has begun work on a research project examining the place of Islam in religious studies theory.


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