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The question, ‘Are religious propositions meaningful?’, which dominated thought about religious language after the turn of the mid-twentieth century, was rapidly made redundant by the understanding of language promoted by thinkers associated with hermeneutical philosophy. Instead of arguing about whether or not religious language was meaningful, philosophers and theologians explored the various ways in which religious language is rendered meaningful by the creative interaction of readers and texts. After describing the origin of modern hermeneutics in the work of F.D.E. Schleiermacher and outlining the most important developments within twentieth-century hermeneutical philosophy, this article explores how certain key Muslim theologians deployed the ideas developed within hermeneutical philosophy as they sought to provide new understandings of the Qur’an. After highlighting the link between this new approach to religious language and the innovative understandings of the nature of revelation that have emerged from it, the article considers how the recognition that the text of the Qur’an is consistent with a number of different interpretations has led to the view that there is a plurality of equally legitimate forms of Islam. Finally, the article reviews Mohammed Arkoun’s attempt to explain the unity behind this irreducible interpretive plurality by tracing its origin to what he calls the ‘Qur’ānic fact’.
|Keywords:||Qur’an, hermeneutics, religious language, qur’anic hermeneutics, revelation, interpretive pluralism, Fazlur Rahman, Farid Esack, Mohammed Arkoun|
|Glasgow Author(s):||Harrison, Dr Victoria|
|Subjects:||B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)|
|College/School:||College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy|
|Journal Name:||Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations|