Many scholars of Islam are interested in creating a liberal, inclusive, pluralistic, feminist, and modern version of the religion that they believe to be explicit in the pages of the Qur'an, but missed by earlier interpreters. In so doing, they create "good" Islam and, in the process, seek to define what does and does not get to count as authentic. As the purveyors of what they now believe to be veritable Islam, they subsequently claim that rival presentations are bastardizations based either on Orientalism and Islamophobia (if one is a non-Muslim) or misogyny and homophobia (if one is a Muslim that disagrees with them). Instead of engaging in critical scholarship, they engage in a constructive and theological project that they deceive themselves into thinking is both analytical and empirical. This book provides a hard-hitting examination of the spiritual motivations, rhetorical moves, and political implications associated with these apologetical discourses. It argues that what is at stake is relevance, and examines the consequences of engaging in mythopoesis as opposed to scholarship.
Aaron W. Hughes holds the Philip S. Bernstein Chair in the Department of Religion and Classics at the University of Rochester. He is the author 10 books and over 50 articles and book chapters.
Preface: Noble LiesIntroduction: Setting the Problem, Laying the GroundChapter One: Islamic Religious Studies and the Politics of IdentityChapter Two: Prisoners of SaidChapter Three: Insiders, Outsiders, and the Path Between Chapter Four: Business as Usual Chapter Five: Jacob Neusner Meets Islamic StudiesChapter Six: Turf Wars