A Book Review of Matthew Pierce's Twelve Infallible Men by Nicole Correri

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Nicole Correri

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Abstract

Matthew Pierce’s first book, Twelve Infallible Men: The Imams and the Making of Shi‘ism, is a unique scholarly work about Ithnā Ash‘arī Shī‘ism and the development of communal identity. His main argument in this book is that the Shi‘a religious identity was shaped over time based on collective social memory and specific biographical depictions of spiritual leadership centered on the sacredness of the Prophet Muhammad and his family, the ahl al-bayt. While much scholarship on Shi‘ism is centered on the topics of succession, theological doctrines, or the specific rituals of ‘Ashura, Pierce focuses instead on how love and devotion towards the imams and the ahl al-bayt developed.

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