The Limits of the Sacred
Whether through a deliberate and conscious reconfiguring of choice juristic symbols and idioms, or through an academic attempt to order and classify the cumulative outcomes of a gradually emerging legal tradition, the legal writings of eighteenth century reformers were also historical writings that reflected on the historical contexts in which the law was articulated, and commented on the social and political crises of their times. As such, the legal writings of eighteenth-century reformers were sites in which traditional notions of authority were assessed, contested and restructured. This Chapter focuses on this aspect of eighteenth century legacy. It underscores the fact that the primary site of eighteenth century reform was in the fields of usul (theoretical principles). It also outlines the systematic arguments generated in the eighteenth century that limited the scope of religious law rather than extending it endlessly through legal analogy.
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