Multivocality in Shia Seminary

  • Abbas Mehregan
  • Sociology of Islam, April 2017, Brill
  • DOI: 10.1163/22131418-00501003

Multivocality in Shia Seminary

What is it about?

The main claim of the present article is that a Shia theological seminary, contrary to the common depiction presented, is a multivocal institution. The tradition of multivocality does not appertain only to ʿulamāʾ. Young clergy and seminaries also have very different ideas concerning religious thought. Evidence of this can be found in the present article in the form of examples of the dramatic discrepancy between ʿulamāʾ in essential theological beliefs, political theology, juridical methodology, issuing fatwas, and historical events relating to Shia identity. Moreover, the multivocality of young seminary students was empirically tested in Howzah ʿlmiyyah of Qom in Iran. The findings of this survey demonstrate the existence of four distinct schools of religious thought in the Shia seminary. At the end of the article, the educational, political and technological factors which have led to the formation of different intellectual trends within the contemporary Shia clergy institution are discussed.

Why is it important?

There are no many empirical surveys about Shia theological seminary. Because of this the present research is very important in this field.


Dr Abbas Mehregan

The sociological study of the Shia theological seminary is a neglected task and I should immediately add that this is not a simple task. The present research is a pioneer in this field that try to explain some hidden aspects in the Shia theological schools.

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