Uṣūl al-Fiqh versus Hermeneutics

Thanks to Rob Gleave and Murteza Bedir for organizing another conference on Islamic legal theory in Istanbul! My paper is:

“Uṣūl al-Fiqh versus Hermeneutics: History, Linguistics, Ideology, Phenomenology, and Postmodernism between Europe and Indonesia.” Conference on “Islamic Legal Theory: Intellectual History and Uṣūl al-Fiqh,” Istanbul University, October 15, 2019.

Here is a pdf of the pre-conference draft of the paper that was shared with participants. It is complete but lacks documentation and will require a great deal of revision before publication in the projected conference volume, so please do not cite it formally yet.

Sacrificial Listening: An Epistemology and Pedagogy for Intellectual Humility in the Humanities

This working paper is my most detailed and systematic attempt yet to articulate the notion of “sacrificial listening” that has been the guiding principle of my research and teaching. Its main points were presented to a group of colleagues in philosophy, psychology, education, and other fields at the University of Oklahoma, as part of the Virtue Forum Luncheon series of the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing. Many thanks to Institute director Nancy Snow for this great chance to get some interdisciplinary input on this long-term project, and to the audience for a very helpful discussion.

“Sacrificial Listening: An Epistemology and Pedagogy for Intellectual Humility in the Humanities.” Virtue Forum Luncheon series of the Self, Virtue and Public Life Project, Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing, University of Oklahoma, October 9, 2019.

Here is a pdf of the full working paper.

The “Psalms of David” as reimagined and rewritten by Muslims

Ronny Vollandt (Munich) and the research project “Biblia Arabica: The Bible in Arabic among Jews, Christians and Muslims” graciously posted on their blog a brief overview of my conclusions about the Islamic Zabur:

“The ‘Psalms of David’ as reimagined and rewritten by Muslims.” Biblia Arabica. May 14, 2019. https://biblia-arabica.com/the-psalms-of-david-as-reimagined-and-rewritten-by-muslims/

Thanks to all the Biblia Arabica team for opening up this important field, and for welcoming my own project even though it hardly counts as “Bible.”

Origins and Sources of the Islamic Psalms of David

My first visit to the British Association for Islamic Studies was a rich feast of papers, discussions, and conversations with colleagues old and new. Thanks to the BRAIS team for welcoming me into their midst!

My presentation asked what sources the 8th-century author of the Islamic Psalms might have drawn upon for his compilation, and considered several possibilities: Christian monasticism, Biblical paraphrases, the Qur’an, ḥadīth qudsī, other pseudo-scriptures, Tales of the Prophets, wisdom literature, and the literature of Islamic asceticism (zuhd). I concluded, however, that rather than looking for sources I should be looking for inspirations; and the ensuing discussion showed me that I should also be looking for the afterlife of these psalms in other literature.

“Origins and Sources of the Islamic Psalms of David.” British Association for Islamic Studies, April 15, 2019, Nottingham.

Here are the paper and the slides in pdf form.

The Ascetic Piety of the Prophet David in Muslim Rewritings of the Psalms

At the American Oriental Society’s 229th meeting, on St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, I was part of a fascinating paper session on early forms of Islamic piety, along with Ursula Bsees and Antonio Musto. I presented my new understanding of the origins of the Islamic Psalms of David, arguing that they originated among ascetic Muslims of the 2nd/8th or early 3rd/9th century.

“The Ascetic Piety of the Prophet David in Muslim Rewritings of the Psalms.” American Oriental Society, Islamic Near East Section, March 17, 2019, Chicago.

Here are the paper and the slides in pdf form.