Apologising for the study of religion - no way!

Tim Jensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

An initial apology to religious insiders in the opening of Hughes' book got this review–of the book and of tensions in public and academic discourse about Islam and the study thereof–started. The book, after the strange initial apology, becomes a highly valuable introduction to a study-of-religion approach to Islam, incorporating both insider and outsider perspectives, including primary sources and critical analyses, and describing the multitude of ‘Muslim identities’ and responses to so-called modernity. Desiderata: a more classical comparative approach to ritual and more nuance around its discussion of women and jihad. Returning to 'apologetics', the review renders a recent Danish debate suggesting scholars of Islam should investigate and expose Islam rather than provide a nuanced and qualified picture in accordance with empirical scientific principles. An example of public ignorance over the role of the scholar of religion,–and yet another example of the necessity of approaching Islam as any other religion, i.e. from a comparative, historical and critical-analytical point of view. Though the book (rightly) suggests that the academic study of religions is more novelty than norm, the reviewer sees no reason, whatsoever, for apologizing for study-of-religion principles and approaches to religion, Islam included.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCulture and Religion
Volume18
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)8-19
ISSN1475-5610
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Fingerprint

Islam
Religion
studies (academic)
modernity
religious behavior
Muslim
discourse
Apology

Keywords

  • Academic study of religion
  • insider-outsider perspectives
  • Islamophobia
  • method and theory
  • study of Islam

Cite this

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title = "Apologising for the study of religion - no way!",
abstract = "An initial apology to religious insiders in the opening of Hughes' book got this review–of the book and of tensions in public and academic discourse about Islam and the study thereof–started. The book, after the strange initial apology, becomes a highly valuable introduction to a study-of-religion approach to Islam, incorporating both insider and outsider perspectives, including primary sources and critical analyses, and describing the multitude of ‘Muslim identities’ and responses to so-called modernity. Desiderata: a more classical comparative approach to ritual and more nuance around its discussion of women and jihad. Returning to 'apologetics', the review renders a recent Danish debate suggesting scholars of Islam should investigate and expose Islam rather than provide a nuanced and qualified picture in accordance with empirical scientific principles. An example of public ignorance over the role of the scholar of religion,–and yet another example of the necessity of approaching Islam as any other religion, i.e. from a comparative, historical and critical-analytical point of view. Though the book (rightly) suggests that the academic study of religions is more novelty than norm, the reviewer sees no reason, whatsoever, for apologizing for study-of-religion principles and approaches to religion, Islam included.",
keywords = "Academic study of religion, insider-outsider perspectives, Islamophobia, method and theory, study of Islam",
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Apologising for the study of religion - no way! / Jensen, Tim.

In: Culture and Religion, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2017, p. 8-19.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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AB - An initial apology to religious insiders in the opening of Hughes' book got this review–of the book and of tensions in public and academic discourse about Islam and the study thereof–started. The book, after the strange initial apology, becomes a highly valuable introduction to a study-of-religion approach to Islam, incorporating both insider and outsider perspectives, including primary sources and critical analyses, and describing the multitude of ‘Muslim identities’ and responses to so-called modernity. Desiderata: a more classical comparative approach to ritual and more nuance around its discussion of women and jihad. Returning to 'apologetics', the review renders a recent Danish debate suggesting scholars of Islam should investigate and expose Islam rather than provide a nuanced and qualified picture in accordance with empirical scientific principles. An example of public ignorance over the role of the scholar of religion,–and yet another example of the necessity of approaching Islam as any other religion, i.e. from a comparative, historical and critical-analytical point of view. Though the book (rightly) suggests that the academic study of religions is more novelty than norm, the reviewer sees no reason, whatsoever, for apologizing for study-of-religion principles and approaches to religion, Islam included.

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