The Evolution and Devolution of Religious Knowledge

Abdul-Karim Soroush

in Liberal Islam

Published in print October 1998 | ISBN: 9780195116212
Published online November 2007 |
  The Evolution and Devolution of Religious Knowledge

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Abdul-Karim Soroush (Iran, born 1945), a pharmacologist and philosopher educated in Iran and England, was until recently a dean at the Research Institute for Human Sciences in Tehran and one of the most prominent speakers in Iran in the 1990s, lecturing at mosques, universities, and over the radio. 1 Soroush used this prominent position to argue forcefully for a rethinking of Islam's relationship to the non-Muslim West. In particular, his studies in the philosophy of science have led him to suggest that Islamic nations can and must allow scientific advance, including relatively free conditions for researchers, and that religion can be studied rationally like other phenomena. 2 In this essay, Soroush argues that religion is divine but religious interpretation is human, fallible, and even sociologically determined. Such positions have put Soroush at odds with other Islamic scholars in Iran. In the mid-1990s, Soroush received death threats for his theological positions, was physically attacked on two occasions, has been banned from public lectures, and may lose his job. 3

Chapter.  5733 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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