The four volumes of this set bring together key contributions to the study of Shi'ism, giving access to material that has hitherto been scattered and difficult to locate. While the majority of the material stems from the past fifty years, earlier studies are included, providing insight into the field's development. This collection reflects the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of today's Shi'ite studies. Volume One covers the birth of Shi'ism and traces its development. The emphasis is on the socio-political history of communities self-identifying as Shi'ite, focusing largely on the majority 'Twelvers', but also covering 'offshoot' sects. Volume Two consists of articles which explore the theologies and philosophical ideals of Shi'ism. Particular emphasis is given to those aspects of Shi'ite orthodoxy and orthopraxy which distinguish them from the Sunni majority. Volume Three is devoted to Shi'ite law, with special reference to the evolution of 'independent reasoning' - the principle which underpins the inherent dynamism of Shi'ite jurisprudence and which has ensured continuation of development down to the present day. Volume Four concentrates on the development of theories of government among the Shi'ite scholarly milieu, tracing political Shi'ism from its turbulent beginnings to its pre-modern and contemporary manifestation.