Rethinking the Qur'an: Towards a Humanistic Hermeneutics (Humanistics University Press)

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9789066656055: Rethinking the Qur'an: Towards a Humanistic Hermeneutics (Humanistics University Press)
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Since the reign of the Abassid Caliph at Baghdad al-Mutawakil (847-861) more than eleven centuries ago, the discussion about the nature of the Qur'an has been blocked in favour of the Orthodox view that it is the exclusive verbatim Word of God. The human dimension, which includes the language as well as the recipient, is almost absent. This book aims to reopen the debate by rereading the classical material and addressing the present situation of Muslims in the context of the challenges of modernity. The basic question is whether or not Muslims can modernize their societies without disregarding their own belief. The implicit answer is that this is indeed possible once the human dimension of the Qur'an is regarded. So far, Muslims have only been able to rethink Tradition while the question of the Qur'an is untouched. Those who dared to open the question were condemned as heretics, and some of them were executed. Nasr Abu Zayd, Ibn Rushd Professor at the University for Humanistics (Netherlands), delves into the academic adventure of reopening the debate that has been blocked for so long."

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About the Author:

Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd also Abu Zaid or Abu Zeid; July 10, 1943 – July 5, 2010) was an Egyptian Qur'anic thinker, author, academic and one of the leading liberal theologians in Islam. He is famous for his project of a humanistic Qur'anic hermeneutics, which "challenged mainstream views" on the Qur'an sparking "controversy and debate. While not denying that the Qur'an was of divine origin, Zayd argued that it was a "cultural product" that had to be read in the context of the language and culture of seventh century Arabs, and could be interpreted in more than one way. He also criticized the use of religion to exert political power. In 1995 an Egyptian Sharia court declared him an apostate, this led to threats of death and his fleeing Egypt several week later. (He later "quietly" returned to Egypt where he died.)

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