Tradition and Modernity
Christian and Muslim Perspectives
Publication Year: 2013
Tradition and Modernity focuses on how Christians and Muslims connect their traditions to modernity, looking especially at understandings of history, changing patterns of authority, and approaches to freedom. The volume includes a selection of relevant texts from 19th- and 20th-century thinkers, from John Henry Newman to Tariq Ramadan, accompanied by illuminating commentaries.
Published by: Georgetown University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Professor of Islamic Studies, Department of Near Eastern LanguagesCharles Howard Candler Professor of Law, Emory University, Atlanta, GeorgiaDirector, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs,Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Department ofMiddle East and South Asian Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia...
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Georgetown University hosted the seminar that this volume records with itsusual generous hospitality and elegant efficiency. Particular thanks are due tothe president of Georgetown University, John J. DeGioia, for all his support forBuilding Bridges over many years. Tom Banchoff, director of the Berkley Centerfor Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, has also pro-...
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...his volume is a record of the proceedings of the ninth Building Bridgesseminar for Christian and Muslim scholars, convened by the Archbishopof Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, and held at Georgetown Univer-sity, Washington, DC, from May 25–27, 2010. The focus of this seminar onChristian and Muslim approaches to the relationship between tradition and...
PA RT ISurveys
Tradition and History in Islam
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When the regime of the Commander of the Faithful [Ah.mad ibn Muh. ammad al-Shaykh al-Mahdı¯] was established, he rejected imitation (taqlı¯d ), increased creativity(tawlı¯d ) and innovation (ikhtira¯halfringleftsuperscript), favored theoretical research (qiya¯s al-masha¯hid halfringleftsuperscriptala¯al-gha¯halfringrightsuperscriptib), and freed all worthy endeavors from the constraints that limited theirusefulness. This resulted in numerous conquests, the exaltation of industries, the rule...
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...radition, put simply, is what is handed on. The English word ‘‘tradi-tion’’ derives from the Latin ‘‘to hand over, to deliver.’’It may be helpful, before specifically discussing ‘‘tradition’’ in Chris-tian thought, to consider how much in human life is ‘‘passed on’’ by others.Here are two musical examples. The first is from my own workplace—the...
Religious Authority and theChallenges of Modernity
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...ocieties live by their myths. If asked about the modern history of reli-gious authority, many Americans at least would turn to the legendary 1925Scopes trial, the bitter confrontation between supporters and critics ofDarwinian evolution, as mediated through the film Inherit the Wind (1960).Here, we think, reason and science ran rings around obscurantism and faith,...
Between Traditional and New Formsof Authority in Modern Islam
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...polyphonic, modernization made it even more so. ‘‘Islam’’ means submis-sion to God’s authority alone, as expressed in the divine revelation, theQurhalfringrightsuperscripta¯n and the H. adı¯th. Yet the authority to interpret the divine revelation isnot the monopoly of a person, group, or institution. On the contrary, all Mus-lims, men and women, are required to study the Qurhalfringrightsuperscripta¯n and even memorize...
Freedoms of Speech and Religionin the Islamic Context
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...ne premise of this essay is that freedoms of speech and religion arenecessary means for each human person to pursue what she holds asthe ultimate purpose and meaning of her life. In other words, peopletend to link the value of rights such as freedoms of speech and religion to thepurpose for which they are asserting those rights rather than to affirm them for...
Christianity, Modernity, and Freedom
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...odernity—to the degree that it was or is a kind of cultural projector epochal ideology—understands itself as the history of freedom. Orrather, I suppose I should say, the one grand cultural and historicalnarrative that we as modern persons tend to share, and that most sharply distin-guishes a modern from a premodern vision of society, is the story of liberation,...
PA RT I IChristian and MuslimThinkers on Traditionand Modernity
John Henry Newman (1801–90)
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...he following essay is directed towards a solution of the difficultywhich has been stated,—the difficulty, as far as it exists, which lies in theway of our using in controversy the testimony of our most natural infor-mant concerning the doctrine and worship of Christianity, viz. the history ofeighteen hundred years. The view on which it is written has at all times, perhaps,...
Newman on Revelation, Hermeneutics,and Conscience
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John henry newman (1801–90) stands undoubtedly as the most impor-tant Catholic thinker to emerge between the Council of Trent of the six-teenth century and the Second Vatican Council of 1963–65. If the firstcouncil posited Catholicism’s authoritative answer to the Protestant reformers,the second rightly hails Newman as its ‘‘Father.’’1 His influential essay on thedevelopment of Christian doctrine put forth a theory that made possible the...
Muh.ammad Abduh (1849–1905)
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...he europeans believe that there is no difference between the doctrineof destiny and fate (al-qad. a¯halfringrightsuperscript wa al-qadar) and the doctrine of the theo-logical school of the Predestinarians (al-Jabrı¯yya), who say that thehuman being is compelled absolutely in all of his acts. They imagine that withthe doctrine of destiny (al-qad. a¯halfringrightsuperscript) Muslims see themselves as a feather floating in...
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...cussed in this volume, Muh. ammad halfringleftsuperscriptAbduh is the most ambiguous interms of understanding the full extent of his legacy in the century sincehis death. With the possible exception of his teacher and political mentor Jama¯lal-Dı¯n al-Afgha¯nı¯ (1838–97), he is arguably the most overinterpreted figure inmodern Islamic thought. Indeed, it may be useful to think of halfringleftsuperscriptAbduh as the...
Sayyid Abu¯ l-Ala¯ Mawdu¯dı¯
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Sayyid Abu¯ l-Ahalfringleftsuperscriptla¯halfringrightsuperscript Mawdu¯dı¯Now I wish you further to understand clearly the principles of modern civiliza-tion which we desire to uproot and also the principles which we want to estab-Modern civilization on which revolves the whole present-day organisation ofthe world (intellectual, moral, cultural, political and economic) is, in reality,...
Mawdu¯dı¯ and theChallenges of Modernity
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...bu¯ l-ahalfringleftsuperscriptla¯halfringrightsuperscript mawdu¯dı¯ (often referred to as Mawla¯na¯ Mawdu¯dı¯) was bornin 1903 as the youngest of three sons. He lived with his family in Auran-gabad, a well-known town in the former state of Hyderabad (Deccan,now known as Maharashtra), in India. His family was strongly religious and hada long tradition of spiritual leadership, with a number of Mawdu¯dı¯’s ancestors...
Lesslie Newbigin (1909–98)
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...he christian mission is the clue to world history, not in the sensethat it is the ‘‘winning side’’ in the battle with the other forces of humanhistory, but in the sense that it is the point at which the meaning ofhistory is understood and at which men are required to make the final decisionsabout that meaning. It is, so to say, not the motor but the blade, not the driving...
Newbigin and theCritique of Modernity
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...ollowing lesslie newbigin’s death in 1998, the obituary in TheTimes described him as ‘‘one of the foremost missionary statesmen of hisgeneration,’’ and ‘‘one of the outstanding figures on the world Christianstage in the second half of the century.’’1 Born in 1909 to Quaker parents, hestudied at Cambridge University and went to India in 1936 as an ordained...
Alasdair MacIntyre (1929– )
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...[Excerpted from a chapter titled ‘‘The Virtues, the Unity of a Human Life andtisnowpossibleto return to the question from which this enquiry intothe nature of human action and identity started: In what does the unity ofan individual life consist? The answer is that its unity is the unity of anarrative embodied in a single life. To ask ‘‘What is the good for me?’’ is to ask...
MacIntyre on Tradition
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...secular and religious? Or is it to be associated especially with religious phe-nomena? We speak very easily of both cultural and religious traditions, andin general we tend to contrast a ‘‘traditioned’’ mode of life with a ‘‘modern’’mode of life that is seen as having emanated from the West. ‘‘Tradition’’ as acategory then appears to be at once global, ecumenical, and nostalgic. It is seen...
Seyyed Hossein Nasr (1933– )
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...[The tension between the traditional Muslim outlook and that of modernhe contemporary muslim who lives in the far corners of the Islamicworld and has remained isolated and secluded from the influence ofmodernism may be said to live still within a homogeneous world inwhich the tensions of life are those of normal human existence. But the Muslim...
Seyyed Hossein Nasr onTradition and Modernity
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...orn in tehran in 1933, Seyyed Hossein Nasr has been at the forefrontof discussions of the relation between Islam and modernity for more thanfour decades. He has published more than five hundred articles and morethan fifty books that have been translated into some twenty languages. Nasr isone of only three intellectuals who have delivered the Gifford Lectures in Natu-...
Elisabeth Schu¨ssler Fiorenza (1938– )
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...n the greek old testament ekkle¯sia means the ‘‘assembly of the peopleof Israel before God.’’ In the New Testament ekkle¯sia comes through theagency of the Spirit to visible, tangible expression in and through the gather-ing of God’s people around the table, eating together a meal, breaking the bread,and sharing the cup in memory of Christ’s passion and resurrection. Christian...
Elisabeth Schu¨ssler Fiorenza
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...treasured and handed on again, harbors within it the apparently countertheme of betrayal. All traditions are vulnerable to betrayal for, in the veryprocess of handing on, the original gift may be distorted or even lost. Differenttraditions no doubt develop different strategies for minimizing the element ofbetrayal, often centering on the authority to interpret, but these strategies them-...
Tariq Ramadan (1962– )
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...phenomenal. Specialists in the foundations of law and jurisprudence(usul al-fiqh), who labored at this exercise of extrapolating and categoriz-ing rules on the basis of a reading that was both careful to be faithful to thenorm and profoundly rational, have bequeathed to us an unparalleled heritage.A careful reading of these works reveals that very precise modes of grasping the...
Tariq Ramadan’s Tryst with Modernity
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Intheintroductionto a significant recent collection of essays on theconcept of religion, Hent de Vries writes:‘‘Religion’’ may—or may not—be here to stay. As a ‘‘concept’’ (but which or whoseexactly?), from one perspective it might seem to be losing its received reference (thetranscendent, the world beyond, and the life hereafter) and its shared relevance (aunified view of the cosmos and all beings in it; a doctrine of the origin, purpose and...
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...odernity and the scatter of terms related to it are agreed to beslippery words. They are hardly ever used neutrally, just to describewhat happens to be the cultural position at the present moment. Theymay be used in both positive and negative ways: ‘‘modernization’’ is assumedunthinkingly to be a good thing; ‘‘modernism’’ is a bad thing in the vocabulary...
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Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2013