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Islamic speculative theology. It arose during the Umayyad dynasty over varying interpretations of the Qur'an and over questions the Qur'an provoked, including those on predestination, free will, and the nature of God. The most prominent early school was the 8th-century Mu'tazilah, which asserted the supremacy of reason, championed free will, and rejected an anthropomorphic characterization of God. The 10th-century school of Ash'ariyyah moved kalam back toward traditional faith, accepting, for example, the eternal, uncreated nature of the Qur'an and its literal truth. The school also represented the successful adaptation of Hellenistic philosophical reasoning to Muslim orthodox theology.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on kalam, visit Britannica.com.
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