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Engaging with Bediuzzaman Said Nursi: A Model of Interfaith Dialogue (review)

Engaging with Bediuzzaman Said Nursi: A Model of Interfaith Dialogue (review) AsfarasthegapbetweenIqbalandtraditionalorthodoxyisconcerned,anumberofthingsneedtobetakenintoaccount. 1.ItistruethatIqbaldoesnotfollowthetraditionalwaysofQur'anicexegesis, yetthisdoesnot,byitself,renderhimanon-seriousthinker.(Thisneedstobeseenin thelightofhisoveralloutlook.) 2.TheconceptionofGodasUnique,Transcendent,andunlikeanyotherisnot inconsistentwithIqbal'sthought. 3.Despiteawell-arguedpositioninfavorofpanentheismandafiniteconceptionofdeity,IqbaltalksaboutGod'sinfinitecreativity. 4.Intheconcludingparagraphofthebook,whichisalsotheconclusionofthe lastpart,theauthorsaysthat"TheknowledgeofGodgrantedinRevelationisunderstood,andpartiallyconfirmedbyReason,butitsfullnatureisdisclosedadequately inthemanyveritiesofreligiousexperience"(pp.112­113).Thisseemsconsistent withIqbal'soverallproject. ThereisaninterestingpointmadebyRaschidonpage111:"Thus,fortheMuslim,GodrevealshimselfintheQuran(theWordbecomesBook),andfortheChristian,GodrevealshimselfinChrist(theWordbecomesFlesh)."Thoughhehimself maintainsthatthisdoesnotnecessarilyprovetheChristiandoctrineoftheincarnation,thisseemstobethebiggestconcessioninfavorofincarnationthatonecould expectfromacommittedMuslim. ItmayalsobeobservedthattheauthorhassetasideIqbal'sotherworkswhile dealingwithhisconceptionofGod.ItmaybearguedthatastudyofIqbal'spoetical worksfromthesameperiodinwhichhewasinvolvedwithReconstructioncould have provided some insight in this discussion.This is particularly important since thereisawell-arguedpositionthatthereisaninternalconsistencyinReconstruction andaparallelbetweenReconstructionandJavidnama. BycriticallyexaminingIqbal'sconceptionofGod,theauthorhasgivenusanew perspectiveonIqbal.Thoughthebookisbrief,itisagoodadditiontotheliterature onIqbal,whichdoesnotalwaysofferacriticalanalysisofIqbal'sthought. Engaging with Bediuzzaman Said Nursi: A Model of Interfaith Dialogue.ByIanS. Markham.Farnham,U.K.andBurlington,VT:Ashgate,2009.Pp.viii+179. ReviewedbyRecep Alpyail UniversityofIstanbul Inworldphilosophy,philosophicalmovementsinTurkeyareanignoredarea.Until recent times, most world histories, or general surveys of world civilization, while exploringavastareaoftheglobeandmanycultures,havesometimesignoredentire regions.Inthiscontext,IanS.Markhammakesaverygoodcontributiontothisfield. HissubjectisSaidNursi,inhisnewstudyEngaging with Bediuzzaman Said Nursi: A Model of Interfaith Dialogue.ForMarkham,"Nursi'sthoughthaschallengedC ristian h theologyinawaythatinvitesustotapintoanaspectofourtraditionthatmanycontemporarytheologiansaretooquicktodismiss"(p.41). PhilosophyEast&WestVolume62,Number4October2012604­605 ©2012byUniversityofHawai`iPress MarkhamistryingtoengagewithSaidNursifrommanystandpoints.Sometimes weseeNursiaschallengingCharlesDarwinandBertrandRussell(pp.23­33),sometimesweseeNursiagreewithSt.JohnoftheCrossandSt.TeresaofAvila(p.93),and MarkhamputsJohnHickintoconversationwithNursi(p.53).AccordingtoMarkham, Nursiisa"both/and"ratherthanan"either/or"thinker: ItisimportantthereforethatbothMuslimsandnon-Muslimsengagewiththethoughtof SaidNursi.Inavarietyofdifferentways,heisabletochallengeconventionalwaysof thinkingabouttherelationshipbetweenfaithandmorals.Nursiisa"both/and"thinker ratherthanan"either/or"one.SohisethicisbothfirmlyrootedintheQur'an,andyet discernabletoanyonewillingtoreasonproperlyabouttheworld.Heacceptsboththe realityofpluralismandinsistsonthetruthofIslam.Hehasbothademandingrenewal ethicforindividualMuslimstocultivateandcontinuestocallforanappropriatetransformationofsociety.Hecelebratestheachievementsofmodernityandisnotafraidtoquestionitscoherence.(p.22) Throughoutthebook,theideaisemphasizedthat"Theageofanepistemological relativism,coupledwithanenthusiasmforJohnHick'spluralisthypothesis,isover." Markhamsuggests"engagement"asthenextphasefordialogue: LikeNursi,Iamadvocatinganengagementwhichisorthodoxyetopen.LikeNursi,Iam aspiringtoberootedyetengaged.Thismodelofinterfaithdialogueismuchmoreexciting thantheworldofskepticalChristiansandMuslimsgatheringtocriticizeallthosewithin eachtraditionwhobelieveinthetruthoftheirrespectivetraditions.Thisisthedialogue modeofthesecondphase.Thetimehascometomovebeyondthis.(p.175) Heisoptimisticaboutinterfaithdialogue.Itisarguable,however,whethertheengagementmodelisthesecondphaseofthepluralisthypothesis.Conceptually,hispositionmayseempowerful;but,practically,engagementseemsafirststepfordialogue. Engaging with Bediuzzaman Said Nursireallychallengesus;herewecomeface tofacewithabookthatissomewhatoutoftheordinaryaboutaMuslimthinkerfrom Turkey.ItsengagementwithSaidNursiismostinstructiveforbothMuslimandChristianthinkers.However,everyengagementbringsitsownlogic;thatis,ithasitsown limitation: if it is an engagement, will it be a temporary relationship or a process leadinguptoamarriage?Thequalityofthisengagementwillbeclarifiedbythediscussionsaboutthebook.Thesearethemselvespartofthelogicofengagement. The Legend of the Middle Ages: Philosophical Explorations of Medieval Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.ByRémiBrague.TranslatedbyLydiaG.Cochrane.Chicagoand London:UniversityofChicagoPress,2009.Pp.287.Hardcover$35.00. ReviewedbyMehmet Karabela McGillUniversity ThemajorityofThe Legend of the Middle Ages: Philosophical Explorations of Medieval Christianity, Judaism, and Islamhasbeenpublishedpreviouslyindifferentforms, butthiseditionhasbeencompletelyrevisedbytheauthor,thewell-knownFrench PhilosophyEast&WestVolume62,Number4October2012605­608 ©2012byUniversityofHawai`iPress http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy East and West University of Hawai'I Press

Engaging with Bediuzzaman Said Nursi: A Model of Interfaith Dialogue (review)

Philosophy East and West , Volume 62 (4) – Nov 2, 2012

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Abstract

AsfarasthegapbetweenIqbalandtraditionalorthodoxyisconcerned,anumberofthingsneedtobetakenintoaccount. 1.ItistruethatIqbaldoesnotfollowthetraditionalwaysofQur'anicexegesis, yetthisdoesnot,byitself,renderhimanon-seriousthinker.(Thisneedstobeseenin thelightofhisoveralloutlook.) 2.TheconceptionofGodasUnique,Transcendent,andunlikeanyotherisnot inconsistentwithIqbal'sthought. 3.Despiteawell-arguedpositioninfavorofpanentheismandafiniteconceptionofdeity,IqbaltalksaboutGod'sinfinitecreativity. 4.Intheconcludingparagraphofthebook,whichisalsotheconclusionofthe lastpart,theauthorsaysthat"TheknowledgeofGodgrantedinRevelationisunderstood,andpartiallyconfirmedbyReason,butitsfullnatureisdisclosedadequately inthemanyveritiesofreligiousexperience"(pp.112­113).Thisseemsconsistent withIqbal'soverallproject. ThereisaninterestingpointmadebyRaschidonpage111:"Thus,fortheMuslim,GodrevealshimselfintheQuran(theWordbecomesBook),andfortheChristian,GodrevealshimselfinChrist(theWordbecomesFlesh)."Thoughhehimself maintainsthatthisdoesnotnecessarilyprovetheChristiandoctrineoftheincarnation,thisseemstobethebiggestconcessioninfavorofincarnationthatonecould expectfromacommittedMuslim. ItmayalsobeobservedthattheauthorhassetasideIqbal'sotherworkswhile dealingwithhisconceptionofGod.ItmaybearguedthatastudyofIqbal'spoetical worksfromthesameperiodinwhichhewasinvolvedwithReconstructioncould have provided some insight in this discussion.This is particularly important since thereisawell-arguedpositionthatthereisaninternalconsistencyinReconstruction andaparallelbetweenReconstructionandJavidnama. BycriticallyexaminingIqbal'sconceptionofGod,theauthorhasgivenusanew perspectiveonIqbal.Thoughthebookisbrief,itisagoodadditiontotheliterature onIqbal,whichdoesnotalwaysofferacriticalanalysisofIqbal'sthought. Engaging with Bediuzzaman Said Nursi: A Model of Interfaith Dialogue.ByIanS. Markham.Farnham,U.K.andBurlington,VT:Ashgate,2009.Pp.viii+179. ReviewedbyRecep Alpyail UniversityofIstanbul Inworldphilosophy,philosophicalmovementsinTurkeyareanignoredarea.Until recent times, most world histories, or general surveys of world civilization, while exploringavastareaoftheglobeandmanycultures,havesometimesignoredentire regions.Inthiscontext,IanS.Markhammakesaverygoodcontributiontothisfield. HissubjectisSaidNursi,inhisnewstudyEngaging with Bediuzzaman Said Nursi: A Model of Interfaith Dialogue.ForMarkham,"Nursi'sthoughthaschallengedC ristian h theologyinawaythatinvitesustotapintoanaspectofourtraditionthatmanycontemporarytheologiansaretooquicktodismiss"(p.41). PhilosophyEast&WestVolume62,Number4October2012604­605 ©2012byUniversityofHawai`iPress MarkhamistryingtoengagewithSaidNursifrommanystandpoints.Sometimes weseeNursiaschallengingCharlesDarwinandBertrandRussell(pp.23­33),sometimesweseeNursiagreewithSt.JohnoftheCrossandSt.TeresaofAvila(p.93),and MarkhamputsJohnHickintoconversationwithNursi(p.53).AccordingtoMarkham, Nursiisa"both/and"ratherthanan"either/or"thinker: ItisimportantthereforethatbothMuslimsandnon-Muslimsengagewiththethoughtof SaidNursi.Inavarietyofdifferentways,heisabletochallengeconventionalwaysof thinkingabouttherelationshipbetweenfaithandmorals.Nursiisa"both/and"thinker ratherthanan"either/or"one.SohisethicisbothfirmlyrootedintheQur'an,andyet discernabletoanyonewillingtoreasonproperlyabouttheworld.Heacceptsboththe realityofpluralismandinsistsonthetruthofIslam.Hehasbothademandingrenewal ethicforindividualMuslimstocultivateandcontinuestocallforanappropriatetransformationofsociety.Hecelebratestheachievementsofmodernityandisnotafraidtoquestionitscoherence.(p.22) Throughoutthebook,theideaisemphasizedthat"Theageofanepistemological relativism,coupledwithanenthusiasmforJohnHick'spluralisthypothesis,isover." Markhamsuggests"engagement"asthenextphasefordialogue: LikeNursi,Iamadvocatinganengagementwhichisorthodoxyetopen.LikeNursi,Iam aspiringtoberootedyetengaged.Thismodelofinterfaithdialogueismuchmoreexciting thantheworldofskepticalChristiansandMuslimsgatheringtocriticizeallthosewithin eachtraditionwhobelieveinthetruthoftheirrespectivetraditions.Thisisthedialogue modeofthesecondphase.Thetimehascometomovebeyondthis.(p.175) Heisoptimisticaboutinterfaithdialogue.Itisarguable,however,whethertheengagementmodelisthesecondphaseofthepluralisthypothesis.Conceptually,hispositionmayseempowerful;but,practically,engagementseemsafirststepfordialogue. Engaging with Bediuzzaman Said Nursireallychallengesus;herewecomeface tofacewithabookthatissomewhatoutoftheordinaryaboutaMuslimthinkerfrom Turkey.ItsengagementwithSaidNursiismostinstructiveforbothMuslimandChristianthinkers.However,everyengagementbringsitsownlogic;thatis,ithasitsown limitation: if it is an engagement, will it be a temporary relationship or a process leadinguptoamarriage?Thequalityofthisengagementwillbeclarifiedbythediscussionsaboutthebook.Thesearethemselvespartofthelogicofengagement. The Legend of the Middle Ages: Philosophical Explorations of Medieval Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.ByRémiBrague.TranslatedbyLydiaG.Cochrane.Chicagoand London:UniversityofChicagoPress,2009.Pp.287.Hardcover$35.00. ReviewedbyMehmet Karabela McGillUniversity ThemajorityofThe Legend of the Middle Ages: Philosophical Explorations of Medieval Christianity, Judaism, and Islamhasbeenpublishedpreviouslyindifferentforms, butthiseditionhasbeencompletelyrevisedbytheauthor,thewell-knownFrench PhilosophyEast&WestVolume62,Number4October2012605­608 ©2012byUniversityofHawai`iPress

Journal

Philosophy East and WestUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Nov 2, 2012

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