Project

Buddhist and Islamic Scholastic Collaboration in Early Medieval Central Asia: Buddhism as Revealed by Its Contributions to Early Islamic Theology

Program

The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies

Abstract

This dissertation investigates the intellectual history of Buddhist and Islamic scholarly collaboration in Central Asia during the Early Middle Ages. In particular, it focuses on early medieval Central Asian Buddhist interpretations of the doctrine of momentariness and how early Islamic theologians appropriated this Buddhist doctrine to create the Islamic doctrine of occasionalism. The dissertation includes a survey of the state of Buddhist scholastic communities in Central Asia at the time of the Arab conquest. It ultimately demonstrates that subtle differences in occasionalist doctrines can be accounted for by regional differences in the interpretation of momentariness at the time it was transmitted to early Islamic theologians in the Near East, Bactria, and Transoxiana.