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« Make Friends | Main | Terrorists hate Muslims »

Jul 19, 2005

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Nathan Black

Hello,

I'm the founder of Different Religions Week. I wanted to thank you for mentioning it on your site and to ask you if you are able to keep track of page hits to your posts (or the pages on which they are posted).

If so, can you tell me how many unique hits there were to your mention of Different Religions Week between when you made the post and July 22?

Thanks again, and enjoy the rest of the summer.

Nathan Black

Rachel

I am so glad you posted this -- thank you! I'm reading the Koran now (more slowly than I had hoped, but I'm working my way through it) and I find myself perennially wishing I knew more about the various ways in which it's interpreted within normative Islam.

Torah interpretation poses some of the same challenges. Like Arabic, Hebrew is a consonantal language, and Torah scrolls have no vowels or cantillation markings -- though there was a tradition of preserving those markings orally, and they were written down by the masoretes sometime between the 1st and 10th centuries of the Common Era. (Is there an analagous voweled/pointed Koranic text?)

I know some of the ways in which normative Judaism has interpreted Torah -- particularly some of the passages that are problematic to modern sensibilities. I find myself assuming that normative Islam has similar interpretive workarounds, but I wish I knew more about all of this. Is there a commentary or secondary source text that you would recommend for a non-Muslim reader?

Tony

"I know some of the ways in which normative Judaism has interpreted Torah -- particularly some of the passages that are problematic to modern sensibilities. I find myself assuming that normative Islam has similar interpretive workarounds, but I wish I knew more about all of this."

Me too. I know that normative Islam has a number of interpretative workarounds, but they seem ad hoc to me. There's no community build on these interpretations, with the possible exception of the Sufi brotherhoods (where I find refuge from time to time). As a result, there are individual Muslims, such as myself, who simply refuse to read the Qur'an as promoting violence or inter-religious conflict. But we speak only for ourselves and like-minded people who may agree.

To get to the point, I once mentioned to a Jewish friend of mine that I hope in the US at least, Muslims can carve out independent interpretative space along the lines of the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox space that American Jews have done. My friend mentioned that all of that is a relatively new development in Judaism, and that it didn't come easy. A development like that may bring me back to the mosques, but wouldn't do anything about the Salafi lunatics.

Chris Dierkes

Peace,

I'm a Anglican seminarian, very interested in Muslim-Christian theological issues. I really find a great deal of wisdom in your posts. I just wanted to see if you had read Natana Delong-Bas' Wahabi Islam. She is a student of John Esposito, and it seems to be the first really indepth from the sources look at Wahab, the man and his teachings. She comes up with a very different Wahab. She asserts that it was the second generation of "Wahabis" who actually imported Tamiyya and not Wahab himself. She argues that given his context, Abdul Wahab was more a reformer, and only his later (mis)interpreters, the real ideologues---I found the book very interesting, wondering if you had read it, if you had a take on it.

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