Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Der Ratzinger-Schülerkreis

The Ratzinger School-Circle, an annual gathering of the Pope with his former students. Last year they discussed Islam and this year they'll be talking about evolution. Add this to the "I love this Pope!" file! Sandro Magister's latest: Professor Ratzinger goes back to school. Definitely read the essay on progressive trends in Islam.
Progressive thinkers are today tackling issues relating to the Qur'an that modern perspectives and scientific approaches are explicitly raising. [...]

Their answers are informed by historical-critical methods which [...] try to analyze a text within its original context. Thus, the Qur'an can be seen as part of history. The Qur'an might be God’s Word, but its words are laden with history. As Rachid Benzine put it, its historical nature is “incarnated” in its textuality, i.e. in the nature and structure of the written text. [...]

According to this new approach, while the Qur'an certainly conveys eternal truths, the way it transmits them is culturally specific and not universally applicable for it reflects the culture of 7th and 8th century Hejazi Arabs. [...]

Linguistics and literary criticism are used today to read and understand the Qur'an, in particular by many new thinkers like Egypt’s Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, a hermeneutics scholar born in 1943 who currently teaches in Leiden, the Netherlands. [...]

It is self-evident that the Qur'an, or any other text, can only be viewed through culturally-specific lenses, those of the reader or listener. [...] The act of reading is always one of re-reading, [...] so much so that reading the Qur'an cannot be done from a single perspective. No one reading can claim to be the one and only, true for all times.
[Hmm. Didn't I just talk about this below, briefly?]

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