Many thanks to Serdar Kurnaz, his Working Group for Islamic Philosophy of Law, and his team from the Berlin Institute for Islamic Theology, for calling together what turned out to be a creative, imaginative, and wide-ranging conference on “Constructing Islamic Philosophy of Law: Obstacles, Challenges and Solutions.” It was held in the old Veterinary Anatomy Theater (pictured) at Humboldt University in Berlin on May 27-28, 2022. My paper was:
“Classical Islamic Legal Theory and Modern European Philosophy in Conversation: Language, Ethics, History, Politics, and Phenomenology.” Constructing Islamic Philosophy of Law: Obstacles, Challenges and Solutions, Berlin Institute for Islamic Theology, Humboldt University, Berlin, May 27, 2022.
Here is a pdf of the slides for the presentation.
The inside of the Veterinary Anatomy Theater:
Islamic Legal Theory: A Critical Introduction Based on al-Juwayni’s Waraqat fi usul al‑fiqh. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2022.
This book is a revised and slightly expanded version of my Critical Introduction to Islamic Legal Theory, which was published online in 2017. Many thanks to Rick Todhunter at Hackett for suggesting that it be published as an affordable paperback for classroom use. It is available on Hackett’s web site as an ebook ($15.50), a paperback ($18), and in a library-style cloth binding (not sewn, $58). Instructors may order examination copies for a nominal charge of $3.
But the book isn’t just for students. Along with a critical edition and English translation of al-Juwayni’s widely used Kitab al-Waraqat fi usul al-fiqh, it offers a novel commentary that highlights the significance of classical debates for contemporary concerns in a way that I hope will prove illuminating for specialists.
Several translated selections from the Islamic Zabur that are of special interest for Christian-Muslim relations are now available in an affordable sourcebook suitable for use in teaching: The Bloomsbury Reader in Christian-Muslim Relations, 600-1500, edited by David Thomas and available from Bloomsbury. My contribution is:
David R. Vishanoff. “Islamic Psalms of David.” In The Bloomsbury Reader in Christian-Muslim Relations, 600-1500, ed. David Thomas, 30–33. London: Bloomsbury, 2022.
It includes the following excerpts:
- A rewriting of the Biblical Psalm 2 that alludes to a Qur’anic verse and seeks to preempt the Christian view that Psalm 2 asserts Jesus’s divine sonship.
- A prediction of Muhammad and of the corruption of the Bible.
- Another psalm that predicts Muhammad, alludes to the Qur’an’s echo of Psalm 37:29, criticizes Christian worship, and tells a story involving a dragon.
- An assertion that Muslims do better than Christians at fulfilling Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.