- Rethinking Islam: Common Questions, Uncommon Answers, 1st Edition (e-Book) - Routledge
- Rethinking Islam
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Rethinking Islam: Common Questions, Uncommon Answers, 1st Edition (e-Book) - Routledge
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If you would like to replace it with a different purchasing option please remove the current eBook option from your cart. By Mohammed Arkoun , Robert D. Hardback : Indeed, he brings back environmental and social determinants much as W. Montgomery Watt first sought to apply them, yet refuses to take seriously the actual phenomena of religion - even to the point of explaining them all away. Thus, in speaking of revelation, he asserts:.
Such a "definition of revelation," he boasts, "has the merit of making a place for the teachings of Buddha, Confucius, African elders, and all the great voices that recapitulate the collective experience of a group in order to project it toward new horizons and enrich the human experience of the divine. At the same time, despite his insistence on how mistaken previous interpreters have been he never analyzes their arguments in detail or by name: instead, he presents them as dupes of a particular movement - Orientalism - or victims of a historical period, especially the Enlightenment.
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Clearly, then, this book by Arkoun fails on at least two counts. First, by condemning traditional scholars for giving a monolithic view of Islam without ever citing whom he has in mind, he obliges the reader to accept on faith a claim to the effect that all prior scholars - especially those who focus on the tradition - have misunderstood what they studied.
Christianity for People Who Aren't Christians: Uncommon Answers to Common Questions - eBook
In other writings, but not in the volume under review, Arkoun has studied the tradition. Were it not for his penchant in those other works to mistake the ephemeral and the peripheral for the core, one might think he did understand the tradition. Second, in claiming that there are many Muslims but no Islam, he betrays a curious lack of common sense.
On the one hand, it is obvious that manifold difficulties await anyone temerarious enough to attempt a description or definition of Islam as a single phenomenon. But on the other, we must ask what practicing Muslims think of as they invoke the word. Surely, we must strive for a working idea of a single Islam, all the while being aware that it is only a working idea or definition. To do so is not to engage in a self-defeating Oriental ism or to prolong a meaningless and romantic notion of religion as monolithic.
It is, rather, to start with the phenomena, to take those phenomena as they first appear, that is, to gain a full appreciation of the surface before attempting to delve beneath it.
Only by a firm grasp of what Islam represents in its multitudinous manifestations as well as in its historical development can anyone hope to address intelligently the questions Mohammed Arkoun's interlocutors put to him. An attempt to renounce reason as a Western imposition offers nothing in and of itself.
What might a scholar, or any normally intelligent person, propose as a substitute for reason? Book Author. Reviewer Title.