Uncommon Answers to Common Questions

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Rethinking Islam

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Uncommon Answers To Common Questions : French - Nithyananda University Press

By Mohammed Arkoun , Robert D. Hardback : Add to Wish List. Description Contents Authors Subjects.

Description A Berber from the mountainous region of Algeria, Mohammed Arkoun is an internationally renowned scholar of Islamic thought. Offline Computer — Download Bookshelf software to your desktop so you can view your eBooks with or without Internet access.

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That can be admitted, as can the fact that some of the earliest individuals to study Islam and the Islamic Middle East did so less out of disinterested curiosity than out of a desire to gain control - spiritual, economic or political - over its peoples and social groupings. This much is needed by way of preface to appreciate why Mohammed Arkoun considers his own work so novel. Taking a cue from Michel Foucault, if not his publicist Edward Said, Arkoun claims to have seen what his predecessors missed: the multiple expressions of Islam, the shortcomings of overly circumscribed social-scientific study, and the tendency of scholarship to distort reality so as to subjugate it.

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He seems to think no one else has recognized that, given so many Muslims, it is difficult to speak of one Islam. And in so doing, he overlooks that many Muslims think they have something in common with other Muslims - that this commonality is what makes them Muslims and is what scholars seek to define.


He also gives the impression of considering himself the first to identify the shortcomings of social science, as though Thomas Kuhn were unknown to him. For example, Arkoun contends that his approach is 1 dynamic rather than static, in that he uses a "bundle of methods taught by the social sciences rather than one method privileged over all others" and is comparative rather than ethnographic and specific.

So he claims 2 to battle "the great Western experts in Islamology [sic]" and to be engaged in "constructing a historical and epistemological critique of the principles, postulates, definitions, conceptual tools and discursive procedures of logical reasoning used in the Islamic context. Thus, 3 his approach, insofar as it "aims to problematize a domain of knowledge, to think through and reflect upon historical circumstances, to deconstruct cognitive systems and ethico-juridical codes, and to historicize beliefs and nonbeliefs," is superior to one that seeks "to increase the mass of available data, rework interpretations, or extend the exploration of a single domain of reality.

Rather, the exclusiveness of the approach bothers him, even though in following the first he must exclude the second. Most important, however, is his denial that there is such a thing as objective reason.

Uncommon Answers To Common Questions : French

For him, the demands that "arguments be more 'objective,' more 'neutral,' less 'polemical"' are merely part of the Western attempt to extend and enforce its hegemony. How sad that he never identifies the insight permitting this judgment. Arkoun's book, consisting of his responses to 24 questions organized according to no discernible order, provides more a sociology of Islam than anything else.

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Indeed, he brings back environmental and social determinants much as W. Montgomery Watt first sought to apply them, yet refuses to take seriously the actual phenomena of religion - even to the point of explaining them all away. Thus, in speaking of revelation, he asserts:. Such a "definition of revelation," he boasts, "has the merit of making a place for the teachings of Buddha, Confucius, African elders, and all the great voices that recapitulate the collective experience of a group in order to project it toward new horizons and enrich the human experience of the divine.

At the same time, despite his insistence on how mistaken previous interpreters have been he never analyzes their arguments in detail or by name: instead, he presents them as dupes of a particular movement - Orientalism - or victims of a historical period, especially the Enlightenment. Clearly, then, this book by Arkoun fails on at least two counts.

Uncommon Answers to Common Questions Uncommon Answers to Common Questions
Uncommon Answers to Common Questions Uncommon Answers to Common Questions
Uncommon Answers to Common Questions Uncommon Answers to Common Questions
Uncommon Answers to Common Questions Uncommon Answers to Common Questions
Uncommon Answers to Common Questions Uncommon Answers to Common Questions
Uncommon Answers to Common Questions Uncommon Answers to Common Questions
Uncommon Answers to Common Questions Uncommon Answers to Common Questions
Uncommon Answers to Common Questions Uncommon Answers to Common Questions

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