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Contemporary Debates in Islam: Modernism Versus Fundamentalism: No. 4

Contemporary Debates in Islam: Modernism Versus Fundamentalism: No. 4 (Hardback)

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A remarkable development occurred in the Islamic world during the second half of the 19th century. A group of prominent Muslim theologians began to critically examine classical conceptions and methods of jurisprudence and devised a new approach to Islamic theology. This new approach was nothing short of an outright rebellion against Islamic orthodoxy, displaying an astonishing compatibility with 19th century Enlightenment era thought. In the 20th century, this modernist movement declined, to be replaced by another cultural episode, characterized by the growing power of Islamic fundamentalism. This volume looks at these two very different approaches to Islam, illustrating how Islamic modernism and fundamentalism were discourses each being an organized set of signs consisting of a conceptual framework, symbolic order, and ritualistic behaviour. The editors have selected the most prominent Islamic thinkers of modernist and fundamentalist viewpoints, diverse nationalities, and from both the late decades of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century.

The writers discuss their own views with regard to such issues as philosophical and political perceptions of democracy, the state, the history of Islam, women's rights, personal lifestyle, education, and the West. The essays reveal what is sharp and what is subtle in the differences between modernism and fundamentalism, and offer the reader a variety of perspectives from contemporary Islamic thought.

KAMRAN TALATTOF is a Professor in the Near East Studies Department at Princeton University. MANSOOR MAODDEL is a Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology at Eastern Michigan University.

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