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This substantially revised version of a dissertation completed at the School
of Oriental andAfrican Studies in 1990 focuses on the disciples (rijal) of the
Imams in the Twelver Shiite tradition, arguing that they developed, through
the routinization of charisma, a distinct type of religious authority in the
eighth and ninth centuries based on their special relationship with the
Imams, but to some extent independent of them. It investigates an important
chapter in Twelver Shiite religious history while touching on questions of
religious authority and orthodoxy in Islam that remain poorly described in
scholarship to date.
The work includes two chapters on aspects of religious authority in classical
Islam, two on the Imams’ disciples and the roles they played, and one
on how these disciples were portrayed in later biographical texts ...