Cosmopolitans and Heretics: New Muslim Intellectuals and the Study of Islam (Columbia/Hurst)

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9780231702393: Cosmopolitans and Heretics: New Muslim Intellectuals and the Study of Islam (Columbia/Hurst)
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Contemporary critiques of Islam focus more on politics and the rise of extremism than on the development of liberal alternative discourses, which have gained impressive traction among Muslim intellectuals in recent decades. These individuals now engage their Islamic heritage in more creative ways, understanding Islam in the comprehensive terms of a civilization rather than in the strict terms of a religion, and deploying relevant theories from the Western human sciences to build a more expansive history.

Cosmopolitans and Heretics examines three of these individuals and the controversy, if not outright accusations of heresy, their work has produced: Nurcholish Madjid, Indonesia's most prominent public intellectual; Hasan Hanafi, one of Egypt's leading philosophers; and the influential French Algerian historian Mohammed Arkoun. Grounding their reading of the Islamic tradition within modern, Western religious scholarship, these figures counter narrow conceptions of a monolithic Islam with their cosmopolitan attitudes. Underscoring the global dimensions of a new Muslim intellectualism, this volume is a welcome and necessary addition to the intellectual history of the modern Muslim world.

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About the Author:

Carool Kersten is lecturer in Islamic studies at King's College London. He earned his MA in Arabic language and culture, a certificate in Southeast Asian studies, and a Ph.D. in the study of religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and has worked for many years in the Middle East.

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A state-of-the-art evaluation of three Muslim intellectuals and their contribution to nuanced understandings of Islam in the global age. Carool Kersten's assessment of their oeuvre and teachings challenges simplistic and monolithic readings. This book will endure as the most definitive blueprint for comprehending cosmopolitan Islam and its influence on global Islamic discourse.



Carool Kersten's sharply written study examines the contributions of three cutting-edge Muslim scholars who engage creatively with the main currents of twentieth century thought: Nurcholish Madjid, Hasan Hanafi, and Mohammed Arkoun. Displaying a profound grasp of modern intellectual history, Kersten assesses the efforts of these thinkers to break from old paradigms and fashion novel and humanistic understandings of Islam, often at the risk of severe censure. He covers impressive terrain, and fascinating details emerge as he traces his subjects' scholarly genealogies. In a field dominated by studies of Islamism, Cosmopolitans and Heretics offers relief. This is intellectual history of the highest caliber and should be read by anyone interested in modern Islamic thought. Outstanding.



Cosmopolitans and Heretics charts new territory. Carool Kersten traces the arc of influence stemming from a cluster of new Muslim intellectuals whose work is little- known yet whose impact has begun to grow, providing welcome attention to themes and issues, texts and contexts, that will be debated with fresh, sustained vigor.



This investigation provides a good illustration of a range of thinking and approaches across the Muslim World, both on Islam and on Muslim interaction with Western thought. Well situated within debates on postcolonialism, translation, and hybridity, this volume is a powerful and welcome plea for the investigation of Islamic thought on a global as opposed to regional basis.

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9781849041294: Cosmopolitans and Heretics: New Muslim Intellectuals and the Study of Islam

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ISBN 10:  1849041296 ISBN 13:  9781849041294
Publisher: Hurst, 2015
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