All posts by David Vishanoff

European and Islamic Contributions to an Anthropocentric Qur’anic Hermeneutic

Mehdi Azaiez and the staff of Beit al Hikma (Académie Tunisienne des Sciences, des Lettres et des Arts) put on a stimulating conference in Beit al Hikma’s beautiful home in Carthage, right on the Mediterranean. Over the course of three days (July 4-6, 2017) a full-throated debate played out, in three languages, over the context within which the Qur’an ought to be read. My own contribution traced the main currents of European philosophy and Islamic thought that made their way into one Indonesian thinker’s call for an anthropocentric reading of the Qur’an:

“An Anthropological Turn in the Qur’anic Sciences: European and Islamic Contributions to Aksin Wijaya’s Indonesian Hermeneutic.” Conference on “Qur’anic Studies: Methods, Contexts, and Interpretations,” International Qur’anic Studies Association and Beit al Hikma, Carthage, Tunisia, July 4, 2017.

The slides from my presentation, which trace the connections between thinkers across a world map, are available here. The text of the paper is still too rough to post here, but I plan to turn it into an article within the next year.

Indicative and Performative Theories of Divine Speech in Classical Islamic Legal Theory

Nadja Germann and her research team put on a very rich and remarkably focused conference on “Intention and Signification: Philosophy of Language Across Islamic Disciplines, 800-1200” at the University of Freiburg, in beautiful Baden-Württemberg, Germany, from June 1 to 3, 2017. What a feast! My own contribution was:

“Indicative and Performative Theories of Divine Speech in Classical Islamic Legal Theory.” Intention and Signification: Philosophy of Language Across Islamic Disciplines, 800-1200, University of Freiburg, June 3, 2017.

I presented just a summary of a long paper draft which is still too rough to post here, but it will be polished up and published in a forthcoming conference volume from DeGruyter.

An Early Recension of the Islamic Psalms of David

Juan Pedro Monferrer Sala and the Biblia Arabica team put on a delightful conference on the transmission of the Arabic Bible among Jews, Christians, and Muslims from April 26 to 28, 2017, in Córdoba, at Casa Árabe, whose jasmine-filled courtyard is pictured above. My contribution was:

“An Early Recension of the Islamic Psalms of David: The Koranic Style and Content of Istanbul Fatih 28 and Madrid 5146.” Biblia Arabica conference on Translators, copyists and interpreters: Jews, Christians and Muslims and the transmission of the Bible in Arabic in the Middle Ages, Cordoba, Spain, April 28, 2017.

The slides from the presentation are available as a pdf here.

A Reader’s Guide to al-Shāfiʿī’s Epistle on Legal Theory (al-Risāla)

This Reader’s Guide is intended as a companion for those engaged in the delightful but sometimes puzzling task of reading al-Shāfiʿī’s famous Risāla, a work that sparked the discipline of Islamic legal theory. It includes a discussion of the structure of the work and a detailed twenty-four-page analytical outline that spells out step by step the flow of what I take to be al-Shāfiʿī’s argument. I hope it proves a useful tool for students and a compelling interpretive proposal for scholars already familiar with the work.

David R. Vishanoff. “A Reader’s Guide to al-Shāfiʿī’s Epistle on Legal Theory (al-Risāla).” Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 28 no. 3 (2017): 245-269.

The Version of Record (VoR) is published at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2017.1289705. Please cite only this final version. For scholars whose institutions do not provide access to the journal, a limited number of free downloads are available at http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/PEsTW46I5pridIR5AxQn/full

A longer version, the Author’s Original (AO), is available here as a pdf for personal schol­ar­ly and educational use. It does not reflect the corrections and additions to the introductory essay that were suggested by reviewers, and therefore should not be cited in scholarship, but it has two advantages for personal study and teaching: it includes a brief as well as a detailed outline of the Risāla, and the long outline retains numerous comments about the text, including suggested amendments to Joseph Lowry’s translation of the Risāla, that had to be cut from the published version.

Review of Amr Osman, The Zahiri Madhhab

Here is my review of a new book on the Zahiri school of law, commonly called “literalist” but better described as “textualist” according to Amr Osman. Unfortunately, I found that the book suffers from numerous problems, which are documented in the review.

David R. Vishanoff. Review of Amr Osman, The Ẓāhirī Madhhab (3rd/9th–10th/16th Century): A Textualist Theory of Islamic Law (Leiden: Brill, 2014). Der Islam 93 no. 2 (2016): 603–609.

Permanent link to the published article (Version of Record): DOI 10.1515/islam-2016-0047

Given the negative nature of the review, I do not wish to distribute it widely, and so will not post the full text here. It is important only for those scholars who are considering making serious use of Osman’s book.