Cover: Twelve Infallible Men: The Imams and the Making of Shi’ism, from Harvard University PressCover: Twelve Infallible Men in HARDCOVER

Twelve Infallible Men

The Imams and the Making of Shi’ism

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Product Details


$46.50 • £37.95 • €42.00

ISBN 9780674737075

Publication Date: 06/13/2016


272 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


[A] compelling study of the imams of Ali’s line.—Malise Ruthven, The Times Literary Supplement

Pierce’s scholarship is impressive… [He] expertly takes us through these stories [of the imams], examining themes like suffering, memory, gender, political power, and theology… A lovely book that does much to teach us about Islam, its many traditions, and the ways in which memory functions in the lives of its followers.—Sophia Rose Arjana, Reading Religion

Forgoing some well-worn topics, Pierce adds a fresh perspective by peering at the Imams’ biographies through the lens of gender. In fact, Pierce is at his best when he engages in questions of gender… Twelve Infallible Men is a well-written analysis of the stories that have been told and retold about the Imams… This book is sure to spark valuable discussion.—Zackery M. Heern, Journal of Islamic Studies

Pierce provides a clearly articulated and stimulating reading of an understudied but fascinating and historically significant body of writings.—Sarah Bowen Savant, American Historical Review

An exemplary work on a hitherto understudied yet highly significant topic. Pierce succeeds admirably in making these biographies speak to central concerns in the contemporary study of Shiˀism in particular and of Islam in general. He writes with ease and precision, and is especially effective at using collective memory to document the formation of communal boundaries and expressions of piety. This compact and accessible work will go a long way towards offering a robust understanding of a major religious phenomenon.—Ahmet Karamustafa, University of Maryland

A successful book that singles out a number of the most influential themes related to the portrayal of the imams and treats them with considerable insight.—Devin Stewart, Emory University

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