Book Review of 'Shi'a Islam: From Religion to Revolution' by Heinz Halm
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Thesis (M.A.) from the year 2009 in the subject Theology - Comparative Religion Studies, grade: 96, Ben Gurion University, course: Formation of Islam, language: English, abstract: Professor Heinz Halm's work Shi'a Islam: From Religion to Revolution deals with the origins and developments of Shi'ism in general and the Shi'i history of Iran, with special attention paid to the Iranian Revolution, which gave rise to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Professor Halm's study aims to synthesize these two major thematic blocks which are located in quite distant historical periods. Within the analysis of Shi'ism the author depicts the major rituals and their history, utilizing travelogues and descriptions of majorly European observers. He compares and examines historical processes which led to the revolution, as well as the revolution itself and its outcome on the basis of previously described characteristics of Shi'ism. . Firstly this article will give a short presentation of the book's structure and a summary of its contents. Further on, it will compare the work with Jonathan Berkey's The Formation of Islam and Ervand Abrahamian's Khomeinism: Essays of the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to examine different approaches and interpretations of various issues covered by all three works. Successively the article will focus on the methodology, the use of sources and the style of Shi'a Islam and it will conclude with some criticism and suggestions for further reading in this field.