The Beginnings of Islamic Law

Event summary

On November 15, 2017, Dr. Lena Salaymeh gave a talk about her book The Beginnings of Islamic Law, as well as her research on Islamic jurisprudence and 19th century European Orientalism. Throughout her presentation, Dr. Salaymeh sought to use the ideas from her book to contest the ideas about 19th century European Orientalism. She identified three problematic methods employed by Orientalist scholars using Hungarian Orientalist Ignaz Goldziher as a case study. According to Dr. Salaymeh, Goldziher was guilty of source criticism, searching for Islamic origins, and projecting a Protestant-Christian notion of religion onto his research. Dr. Salaymeh also argued that the notion of Abrahamic religions is a “problematic imperialist construction that places Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in an imperialist hierarchy.” Concluding, Dr. Salaymeh advocated for the recognition of Islam as a multi-faceted, pluralistic and fluctuating tradition.

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