Tag Archives: Hermeneutics

Can Qur’anic Interpretation Be Both Practically Adequate and Theologically Principled? Some Instructive Historical Examples…

Harith Bin Ramli and Ramon Harvey hosted a warm, lively, and coherent symposium on theologies of revelation at the Cambridge Muslim College. It was a beautiful and memorable day, epitomized by this image of Shahrur and Mohammed:

Sahrur and Mohammed at CMC symposium

My presentation was a reflective pause, looking back on my previous work on classical legal hermeneutics, drawing in my recent readings in Indonesian Qur’anic hermeneutics, and pondering some of the intellectual challenges and moral dangers of thinking systematically about revelation:

“Can Qur’anic Interpretation Be both Practically Adequate and Theologically Principled? Some Instructive Historical Examples of the Delicate Connection between Hermeneutical Theories and Doctrines of Divine Speech.” From Revelation to Scripture: A Symposium on Divine Speech and Prophetic Inspiration in Islam, Cambridge Muslim College, Cambridge, England, September 12, 2015.

Here is a pdf of the full paper, which I summarized at the symposium. The new material it contains about the Indonesian thinker Aksin Wijaya was previously discussed at the International Qur’anic Studies Association in 2014, and hopefully will be included in a future publication (perhaps a volume stemming from the Cambridge Muslim College symposium).

Another image from the day–Farrokh and Ramon during one of the many coffee breaks:

Farrokh and Ramon at CMC symposium

Hermeneutics and the Traditional Islamic Sciences in Indonesia Today

At the IAHR meeting in beautiful Erfurt, in a paper session organized by Carool Kersten on “Retraditionalisation, Anti-Foundationalism and Glocalisation in a Post-Islamist Muslim World,” I presented a simple comparison of three Indonesian thinkers whose works I had been reading, and whom I had just had the opportunity to interview in Indonesia:

Hermeneutics and the Traditional Islamic Sciences in Indonesia Today: Rhetoric, Retraditionalisation, or Creative Anti-Foundationalism?” International Association for the History of Religions, Erfurt, Germany, August 24, 2015.

Here is a link to a pdf of the paper as presented. This is an oral presentation version, without documentation. It is not intended for publication, though the figures discussed here will doubtless appear in some future publication.

A Digital Humanities project: Genealogies of Qur’anic Hermeneutics

At IQSA’s 2015 international meeting in Indonesia I presented my vision for a new digital humanities tool, the OU/Exaptive Discourse Map ‘Xap’:

“Genealogies of Qur’anic Hermeneutics: Tracing Trajectories through Online Data.” International Conference “New Trends in Qur’anic Studies,” co-hosted by the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) and the State Islamic University (UIN) Sunan Kalijaga. Yogyakarta, Indonesia, August 6, 2015.

Here are links to the richly illustrated full paper and the slide show presented at the 2015 IQSA meeting in Indonesia.

Congratulations to IQSA for this lively and diverse meeting, which was a major step toward IQSA’s vision of being a truly international scholarly organization.

IQSA 2015 speakers

Review of The Canonization of Islamic Law by Ahmed El Shamsy

My review of an important new book on how Islamic law came to be based on the Qur’an and Hadith.

David R. Vishanoff. Review of Ahmed El Shamsy, The Canonization of Islamic Law: A Social and Intellectual History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013). Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 26 no. 2 (2015), 256-258.

Permanent link to the published article (Version of Record), with PDF for those whose institutions subscribe to the journal: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2014.979575

PDF of the pre-print Author’s Original (AO) manuscript

Reenchanting the Qur’an: Hermeneutical Applications of the Ashʿarī Concept of God’s Eternal Speech

This paper, presented at IQSA in 2014, compares how several modern Muslim thinkers have made use of the Ashʿarī theological doctrine that God’s speech is eternal but its expression is temporal. Special attention is paid to Aksin Wijaya, an Indonesian thinker who employs a version of the Ashʿarī doctrine to support his creative new approach to Qur’anic interpretation.

“Reenchanting the Qurʾān: Hermeneutical Applications of the Ashʿarī Concept of God’s Eternal Speech.” International Qur’anic Studies Association, San Diego, November 23, 2014.

Here is a pdf of the oral presentation version of the paper, without documentation. This was the first of several conference presentations about Aksin Wijaya and other contemporary scholars of Qur’anic hermeneutics in Indonesia. Future publications will incorporate some of the material presented here, with full documentation.