Tag Archives: General Islamic studies

The anthropological turn in Islamic legal interpretation

On July 23-24, 2016, the Zentrum für Islamische Theologie at the University of Tübingen did a superb job of organizing and hosting a conference on “Islamic Theology – Past, Present and Future: Global Challenges and Prospective Synergies in the Academic Study of Islam.” My presentation dealt once again with the Indonesian thinker Aksin Wijaya, arguing that his explicitly anthropocentric epistemology reflects a broader shift in Islamic thought that opens up new conversations between historical and confessional scholarship on Islam:

“The Anthropological Turn in Islamic Legal Interpretation.” Islamic Theology – Past, Present and Future: Global Challenges and Prospective Synergies in the Academic Study of Islam, University of Tübingen, July 24, 2016.

Here is a pdf of the paper, as delivered. It was written for oral presentation, without documentation. I plan to use it as the framework for a published article incorporating aspects of several papers I have given recently on Qur’anic hermeneutics in contemporary Indonesia.

Review of Ibn Hazm of Cordoba, ed. Adang, Fierro, and Schmidtke

My detailed review of a magnificent collection of essays representing the state of the art in the study of the Andalusian Zahiri thinker Ibn Hazm (d. 1064).

Review of Camilla Adang, Maribel Fierro, and Sabine Schmidtke, eds., Ibn Ḥazm of Cordoba: The Life and Works of a Controversial Thinker (Leiden: Brill, 2013). Islamic Law and Society 21 no. 4 (2014): 453-459.

The publisher, Brill, owns the copyright but graciously allows me to post here a PDF for your personal use.

Here is a link to the article on Brill’s web site.

Overview of Muslim beliefs in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics

This encyclopedia entry surveys the beliefs of Muslims, presenting them not as a set of agreed-upon doctrines but as an ongoing argument over seven main topics: God, creation, humanity, prophethood, ethics, salvation, and the Muslim community.

David R. Vishanoff. “Religious Beliefs.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics, ed. Emad El‑Din Shahin, vol. 2, 321–337. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

I find it useful as an introductory reading for my class on Islamic Theology. Unfortunately, it was written “for hire” for OUP, and cannot be made available here. It is accessible in the printed encyclopedia and at this link in Oxford Islamic Studies Online.

Review of Todd Lawson, The Crucifixion and the Qur’an

The Qur’an’s statement that the Jews “did not kill [Jesus], nor did they crucify him, but it was made to appear [so] to them” (4:157) has often been interpreted to mean that someone else was crucified in his place, but in his book The Crucifixion and the Qur’an Todd Lawson shows that this interpretation is neither inevitable nor universally accepted by Muslim exegetes. Here is my review of the book:

David R. Vishanoff. Review of Todd Lawson, The Crucifixion and the Qur’an: A Study in the History of Muslim Thought (Oxford: Oneworld, 2009). Review of Middle East Studies 47.1 (2013): 69–71.

Permanent link to the published article (Version of Record): DOI 10.1017/S2151348100056366

Unfortunately, the review is rather critical, so I do not wish to distribute it widely, and will not post the full text here. It is important only for those scholars who are considering making serious use of the book.

Islamic Law: A Long Work in Progress

This essay explains the slow but certain adaptation of Islamic law to a general audience:

David R. Vishanoff. “Islamic Law: A Long Work in Progress.” The Army Chaplaincy, Winter-Spring 2009, 65-68.

This article was originally accessible on the public websites of the Chief of Chaplains (http://www.chapnet.army.mil) and the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School (USACHCS) (http://www.usachcs.army.mil/TACarchive/TAC/tac.htm), but as of 2017 these web sites no longer exist and The Army Chaplaincy no longer appears to be in publication or available online, so I am making a pdf of the article available here.