From blessed lips: The textualization of abu said's dicta and deeds

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This paper examines the formation and development of the Abu Said Abul-Kheyr hagiographic tradition. It shows how reports about the eleventh-century saint circulated within a shrine community of his descendants and disciples, both orally and in ad hoc notes, before being set down in writing. It argues that the Asrār al-towhid, the largest and best-known hagiography devoted to Abu Said, is not a natural outgrowth of this oral material, but a reworking for a broad audience of outsiders in light of the shrine community's destruction by the Ghuzz Turks in the 1150s. In the case of the Asrār, textualization involved substantial rhetorical and linguistic changes in order to open up the material to a literary public of non-initiates; it also implied a new understanding of how Abu Said's blessings would manifest themselves in the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-31
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Persianate Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Abu Said
  • Islam
  • Sufism
  • hagiography
  • mysticism
  • orality
  • sainthood
  • textuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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