Never Wholly Other: A Muslima Theology of Religious Pluralism

ISBN : 9780190458010

Jerusha Tanner Lamptey
352 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Feb 2016
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How does the Qur'an depict the religious Other? Historically, this question has provoked extensive debate among Islamic scholars about the identity, nature, and status of such religious Others. Today, this debate assumes great importance because of the widening experience of religious plurality, which prompts inquiry into convergences and divergences in belief and practice as well as controversy over the appropriate forms of interaction among different religions. The persistence of religious violence also gives rise to difficult questions about the relationship between the depiction of religious Others, and intolerance and oppression. Scholars have traditionally accounted for the coexistence of religious similarity and difference by resorting either to models that depict religions as isolated entities or models that arrange religions in a static, evaluative hierarchy. In response to the limitations of this discourse, Jerusha Tanner Lamptey constructs an alternative conceptual and hermeneutical approach that draws insights from the work of Muslim women interpreters of the Qur'an, feminist theology, and semantic analysis. She employs this approach to reevaluate, reinterpret, and reenvision the Qur'anic discourse on religious difference. Through a close reading of the Qur'anic text, she distinguishes between two forms of religious difference: hierarchical and lateral. She goes on to explore the complex relationality that exists among Qur'anic concepts of hierarchical religious difference and to articulate a new, integrated model of religious pluralism. Using an interdisciplinary approach to confront existing Islamic scholarship, Lamptey's Never Wholly Other offers a new genre of theology.


Note on Transliteration, Translation and Gendered Language

Part One: Historical and Contemporary Approaches to Religious 'Otherness'
Chapter 1: 'Self' and 'Other' in Historical Islamic Discourse
Chapter 2: Sameness and Difference in Contemporary Islamic Approaches to Religious Diversity

Part Two: Conceptual and Hermeneutical Foundations of Muslima Theology
Chapter 3: Contemporary Muslim Women Interpreters of the Qur'an: Hermeneutical Approach and Conception of Difference
Chapter 4: From Sexual Difference to Religious Difference: Feminist Theological Approaches to Religious Difference
Chapter 5: From Holistic Interpretation to Relational Hermeneutics: Toshihiko Izutsu's Semantic Analysis of the Qur'an

Part Three: A Muslima Theology of Religious Pluralism
Chapter 6: Lateral and Hierarchical Religious Difference in the Qur'an
Chapter 7: Relational Mapping of the Semantic Field of Taqwa: Concepts of Hierarchical Religious Difference
Chapter 8: Never Wholly 'Other': Sameness, Difference and Relationality

Glossary of Arabic Terms
Index of Qur'anic Verses

About the author: 

Jerusha Tanner Lamptey is a scholar of Islam, theology of religions and comparative theology. She is currently Assistant Professor of Islam and Ministry at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She previously taught at Georgetown University, where she also received her Ph.D. in Theological and Religious Studies with a focus on Religious Pluralism in Catholic and Islamic Thought. She has published several articles and book chapters on religious pluralism, ecumenical relations, John Paul II, Vatican II, and African traditional religion.

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