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With the Alumni Association's Wine and Cheese evening (BYO wine and cheese)
Tuesday 5 March 2019
The Christmas Lecture, 18:30 - 20:00 GMT
Cosmic Chaos in Islamic Apocalyptic Eschatology
SHORT LISTED FOR THE 2018 MA DISSERTATION PRIZE
The redemptive eschatology of Islam did not merely serve as a moral deterrent, but also had a considerable impact on the sociopolitical history of Islam. Islamic apocalyptic eschatology in particular describes a sequence of terrifying celestial phenomena, or cosmic portents, that ultimately lead to a turbulent cataclysmic universal apocalypse that terminates mundane history, or profane time.
Assessing Islamic eschatology from a cosmological perspective, this research engages in a critical historical exploration of how the Last Day cosmic portents mentioned in the Qur'ān, Prophetic sayings, and genre of Islamic apocalyptica, were understood and conceptualised in the period extending from the eighth to the seventeenth centuries CE, and the extent to which this reflects Islamic cosmological beliefs. The central assumption of this research is that a better understanding of Islamic apocalyptic eschatology can lead to the reason behind the pervasiveness of apocalypticism in areas of conflict in the Middle East.
M. A. Rashed's major research interest is pre-Islamic and Islamic cultural astronomy and cosmology, classical and contemporary, extending in geography from Central Asia to Northern Africa and Andalusia. To aid the research, Rashed is studying Attic and Byzantine Greek in addition to Classical and Medieval Latin. Rashed's current academic projects include a joint-article on Bedouin poetry of Arabia with Dr. Daniel Varisco from the Institute for Social Anthropology at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
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