TOWARD A MUSLIMA THEOLOGY OF RELIGIOUS PLURALISM: THE QUR'AN, FEMINIST THEOLOGY AND RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY
Lamptey, Jerusha Tanner
This study examines the Qur'anic depiction of the religious 'other,' and has three main objectives. The first objective is to survey and critique the contemporary Islamic discourse on religious diversity, thus highlighting two crucial shortcomings. The first is the underlying conception of difference as that which divides humanity through the erection of clear, static, and impermeable boundaries. The second and directly related shortcoming is the failure to integrate--rather than prioritize--a number of diverse considerations including sameness, difference, interaction, dynamic relationality, and the teleological value of difference. The second objective of this study is to indicate possible ways to overcome the noted shortcomings in contemporary Islamic discourse. I construct one such alternative conceptual and methodological approach, a Muslima theology of religious pluralism. Muslima theology emerges in response to the perceived shortcomings and draws insights from contemporary Muslim women's interpretation of the Qur'an; feminist approaches to religious pluralism; and Toshihiko Izutsu's semantic analysis of the Qur'an. The third objective of this study is to employ this alternative conception and method to reinterpret the Qur'anic discourse on religious difference. Through a close and detailed reading of the Qur'anic text, I distinguish between hierarchical and lateral religious difference, explore the complex relationality that exists among Qur'anic concepts related to hierarchical religious difference, and articulate an integrated model of religious difference based upon the aforementioned distinction and exploration.
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