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Islam and Literalism: Literal Meaning and Interpretation in Islamic Legal Theory

The aim of this book is to trace the emergence and development of the simple but compelling idea of literal meaning in Islamic legal hermeneutics.

In this reading of Islamic legal hermeneutics, Robert Gleave explores various competing notions of literal meaning, linked to both theological doctrine and historical developments, together with insights from modern semantic and pragmatic philosophers.

Literal meaning is what a text means in itself, regardless of what its author intends to convey or the reader understands to be its message. As Islamic law is based on the central texts of Islam, the idea of a literal meaning that rules over human attempts to understand God’s message has resulted in a series of debates amongst modern Muslim legal theorists.

This book traces the emergence and development of the idea of literal meaning in Islamic legal hermeneutics. Literal meaning is what a text means in itself, regardless of what its author intends to convey or the reader understands to be its message. As Islamic law is based on the central texts of Islam, the idea of a literal meaning that rules over human attempts to understand God s message has resulted in a series of debates amongst modern Muslim legal theorists. In this reading of Islamic legal hermeneutics, Robert Gleave explores various competing notions of literal meaning, linked to both theological doctrine and historical developments, together with insights from modern semantic and pragmatic philosophers. It focuses on Islamic legal writings, with reference to Qur anic exegesis (tafsir) and Arabic rhetorical works. It describes Muslim debates through the lens of modern Western linguistic philosophy, opening the topic up for Western scholars.

Table of Contents

Understanding Literal Meaning

Literal Meaning, Hermeneutics and Islamic Legal Theory

The Emergence of Literal Meaning in Early Islamic Thought

Literal Meaning in Early Islamic Legal Theory

Early Shīʻī Conceptions of Literal Meaning

Zahirism, Literalism and Ibn Hazm

Literal Meaning in Modern Muslim Legal Theory: Two Examples

Robert Gleave is Professor of Arabic Studies at the University of Exeter and was Director of the Legitimate and Illegitimate Violence Project 2010-13.

Bibliographic Information

Title: Islam and Literalism: Literal Meaning and Interpretation in Islamic Legal Theory

Author: Robert Gleave

Publisher: Edinburgh University Press; 1 edition (October 30, 2013)

 Language: English

Length: 256 pages

ISBN: 978-0748689866

Pub. Date: October 30, 2013

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