Critical Questioning of Koran Lacking, Could Curb abuse.(NATION)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 19, 2002 | Go to article overview

Critical Questioning of Koran Lacking, Could Curb abuse.(NATION)


Byline: Larry Witham, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The critical study of Muhammad and the Koran lags far behind the comparable study of Jesus and the Bible, and such study could help Islam adapt to modernity, a number of scholars of the religion say.

Verifying the life of Muhammad and the Koran's "divine revelation" will not hurt Islamic faith but help it avoid legalism and abuse by fanatics, they say.

"This critical study in Islam has been going on for some time but is still a minority voice," said Christopher Taylor, a professor of Islamic studies at Drew University in New Jersey.

As study of the Koran has been taken over by more literal interpreters, he said, educated Muslims are steered into other fields. Three top leaders of al Qaeda, for example, had degrees in applied sciences but pushed a literalist view of the Koran.

"The best Muslim minds are funneled into engineering or medicine, not religion or history," he said. "If you told the vast majority of Muslims about the historical and literary issues surrounding Muhammad and the Koran, they would fear it as a secular attempt to discredit the religion."

Christians faced the same fears when the so-called "scientific" study of the Bible and the historical Jesus seemed to question orthodox belief.

But after a century of challenges, theological orthodoxy endures. Today, discussion about the historical Jesus and Bible are standard in seminaries, adult Sunday school and commentary in Bibles on bookstore shelves.

John Voll, professor of Islamic studies at Georgetown, said it may be unfair in this era to ask Islam to subject the Koran to the same kind of atheistic critical studies the Bible underwent.

"Those 19th-century methods of text criticism are archaic," he said. He said modern literary criticism takes a historic text more at face value and considers its meaning to people, not its exact origins.

"Educated Muslims do not say you can't question anything in the Koran," Mr. Voll said. "But literal-minded people, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim, will always view textual criticism as unbelief."

The scholars disagree on why there is so little critical study of the Koran today.

Some say Muslims will not ask critical questions about the Koran because that is viewed as what Christian missionaries do. Others say Western scholars suffer "post-colonial guilt" about critical research on the Koran, or fear a loss of scholarly privileges if they offend religious leaders or Islamic governments. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Critical Questioning of Koran Lacking, Could Curb abuse.(NATION)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.