Interreligious Boundaries and Encounters

In 2013 I wrote a chapter on the general subject of boundaries and encounters between religious communities for a volume on Understanding Interreligious Relations, edited by David Cheetham, Douglas Pratt, and David Thomas.

David R. Vishanoff. “Boundaries and Encounters.” In Understanding Interreligious Relations, ed. David Cheetham, Douglas Pratt, and David Thomas. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

I was surprised to discover how little systematic theoretical reflection there had been on the subject within the field of religious studies itself, but I found plenty of relevant case studies to illustrate the chapter’s argument, which is related to my thinking about sacrificial listening. Many thanks to Whitney Patterson, a University of Oklahoma student who worked closely with me to find, sift, and think through all those fascinating case studies!

The book is a remarkable collection of essays addressing both theoretical topics and specific religious traditions. The table of contents may be found at OUP’s web site.

Review of Rumee Ahmed, Narratives of Islamic legal theory

My review of Rumee Ahmed’s remarkably clear, accessible, and insightful analysis of writings on legal theory by two prominent Ḥanafis, Abū Zayd al-Dabūsī (d. ca. 430/1038) and Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Sarakhsī (d. ca. 483/1090). Ahmed looks beneath the surface of their writings to discern their values and motivations, their theological and philosophical concerns, and their different visions of divinely revealed law.

David R. Vishanoff. Review of Rumee Ahmed, Narratives of Islamic Legal Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 24 no. 1 (2013): 134–136.

Permanent link to the published article (Version of Record), with pdf for those whose institutions subscribe to the journal:

For scholars whose institutions do not provide access to the journal, a limited number of free downloads are available at

In case you cannot access the published article, here is a PDF of the Author’s Original manuscript.

Five Classical Approaches to the Qur’an

During my Fulbright semester teaching at the State Islamic University (UIN Sunan Kalijaga) in Yogyakarta, Indonesia I presented a paper (and some rather amusing slides) to a conference on “Approaches to the Study of the Quran” put on by a student group, the Community of Santri Scholars of Ministry of Religious Affairs:

“Five Classical Approaches to the Qur’an.” Plenary address at conference “Approaches to the Study of the Quran,” Community of Santri Scholars of Ministry of Religious Affairs, Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, February 24, 2013.

Here is a pdf of the paper, and here are the PowerPoint slides.

The conference center at UIN Sunan Kalijaga: