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.
David Vishanoff, translator. “ʿAbd al‑Jabbār on Rational Interpretation of Scripture.” In Islamic Theological Themes: A Primary Source Reader, ed. John Renard, 58–65. Oakland: University of California Press, 2014.
This published translation is an excerpt from `Abd al-Jabbar’s Mutashabih al-Qur’an. It explains why rational considerations necessarily govern the interpretation of scripture.
David Vishanoff, translator. “Suyūṭī on the Occasions of Revelation.” In Islamic Theological Themes: A Primary Source Reader, ed. John Renard, 51–58. Oakland: University of California Press, 2014.
This published translation is an excerpt from al-Suyuti’s famous book on the Qur’anic Sciences, al-Itqan fi `ulum al-Qur’an. It assesses how knowing the “occasions of revelation” (asbab al-nuzul) affects the interpretation of Qur’anic verses.
A rough translation, for teaching purposes, of a very important section on bayan from al-Shafi`i’s famous Risala fi usul al-fiqh (housed on my old web site).