Never Wholly Other: A Muslima Theology of Religious Pluralism
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 the religious ",other.", Today, this debate assumes great importance because of the pervasive experience of religious plurality, which prompts inquiry into convergences and divergences in belief and practice as well as controversy over appropriate forms of interreligious interaction. The persistence of religious violence and oppression give 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 to models that depict religions as isolated entities or by 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 it to re-evaluate, re-interpret, and re-envision the Qur'anic discourse on religious difference. Through a close and detailed 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 articulates a new, integrated model of religious pluralism.
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