Deconstructing Islamic Studies

Deconstructing Islamic Studies


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The study of Islam has historically been approached in two different ways: apologetical and polemical. The former focuses on the preservation and propagation of religious teachings, and the latter on the attempt to undermine the tradition. The dialectic between these two approaches continued into the Enlightenment, and the tension between them still exists today. What is new in the modern period, however, is the introduction of a third approach, the academic one, which ostensibly examines the tradition in diverse historical, religious, legal, intellectual, and philosophical contexts. Classical Islamic subjects (e.g., Qur’ān, ḥadīth, fiqh, tafsīr) are now studied using a combination of the apologetical, the polemical, and the academic approaches. Depending upon the historical period and the institutional context, these classical topics have been accepted (apologetical), have had their truth claims undermined (polemical), or have simply been taken for granted (academic).

This volume, comprising chapters by leading experts, deconstructs the ways in which classical Muslim scholarship has structured (and, indeed, continues to structure) the modern study of Islam. It explores how classical subjects have been approached traditionally, theologically, and secularly, in addition to examining some of the tensions inherent in these approaches.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674244689
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 07/14/2020
Series: Mizan Series , #4
Pages: 376
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Majid Daneshgar is Research Associate in the Department of Oriental Studies at the University of Freiburg, Germany.

Aaron W. Hughes is Philip S. Bernstein Chair in the Department of Religion and Classics at the University of Rochester, New York.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Contributors xi

Introduction Majid Daneshgar Aaron W. Hughes 1


1 The Qur'an and Its Legal Environment David S. Powers 9


2 Hadith between Traditional Muslim Scholarship and Academic Approaches Andreas Görke 33


3 Tafsir as Discourse: Institutions, Norms, and Authority Johanna Pink 53

4 Overlooked Modern Persian-Shi'i Tafsir Schools: The Maktab-e Tafkik in Contemporary Iran S. M. Hadi Gerami 77


5 On Secularization of Fiqh in Contemporary Iran Mahmoud Pargoo 102


6 Kalam: Constructing Divinity Aaron W. Hughes 124


7 'ilm Is islam: The Islamic Concept of Knowledge from Classical Traditions to Modern Interpretations Christopher A. Furlow 145


8 Reconstructing Adab in Islamic Studies Nuha Alshaar 167


9 The Good, the Bad, and the Heretic in Early Islamic History Mushegh Asatryan 204


10 Isma'iliyya and Isma'ilism: From Polemical Portrayal to Academic Inquiry Khalil Andani 253


11 Studying Sufism Beyond Orientalism, Fundamentalism, and Perennialism Mahdi Tourage 313


12 Lost Orientalism, Lost Orient, and Lost Orientals: An Overview Majid Daneshgar 338

Index 359

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