Islam’s New Enlightenment

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25 February 2018 – Video and text of the paper by Professor Luigi Berzano, University of Turin, at the International Convention Law and Freedom of Belief, an arduous journey, held in Florence on 18-19 January 2018.

Islam’s New Enlightenment

In the four centuries from 750 to 1150, in Greater Central Asia, Islam experienced a period of brilliance in commerce, the fine arts and every branch of knowledge. It was an age of concentration in space and time of wisdom and economic development. It is no surprise that this era subsequently influenced European culture from the time of Saint Thomas Aquinas until the Scientific Revolution. All this we rediscover today as a forgotten Enlightenment[1]. S. Frederick Starr’s recent tome tells a fascinating tale, mostly unknown, of the Central Asian Medieval Enlightenment. Populous cities enlivened by illustrious figures in various scientific fields contributed to the evolution, stimulating unexpected development and artistic creation. Almost everybody wrote in Arabic and populations – many of whom were Persians, Turks, Iranians, even Chinese – were generically, and often mistakenly, called “Arabs”. There and then algebra was born, the Earth’s diameter was precisely measured for the first time, the most beautiful poetry was composed, and books were written which would define European medicine. Rarely in the history of the world has science enjoyed such happy days. All of which had a profound impact on Europe, India and most of Asia.

Today Islam is growing within European societies which are carriers of a different – but equally rich and intriguing – Enlightenment. But this is far from the profile of Muslim-majority societies and states today. Herein lies the challenge of Islam at the beginning of the Second Millennium, the secular Islam of Ibn Rushd (Latinised as Averroes), Avicenna and other founders of (among other things) modern science. What will the Enlightenment of secular European societies transformed by lasting migratory flows look like? More specifically, what forms will cohabitation between Muslims and non-Muslims take?

The migration of whole populations – determined both by the attraction which the North of the world exercises upon the South and by internal African and Middle-Eastern tensions – will present Europe with considerable practical and logistical challenges; but it will above all demand exceptional effort in the educational-academic sector on behalf of first-, second- and third-generation children and youth. The question of the aim of human existence and how to reach it – if such a thing could ever come about – can be left to the globalisation in progress. But leaving aside these more general problems, my intervention will present, first, the topic – discussed by many scholars – of religion abandoning the public sphere or, as Marcel Gauchet expresses it, modernity’s leaving religion, which is to say the rejection of religion as heteronomy. Secondly, I shall point out some elements of the Islam-Enlightenment relationship with reference to the French philosophical and anthropological Islam des Lumières perspective. Thirdly, I shall propose the hypothesis that the hermeneutical question of text-interpretation – especially of the Koran – is today central and indispensable for Muslim co-habitation in advanced modern societies.

1. Leaving behind religion, between autonomy and heteronomy

Some scholars of religion, starting from Marcel Gauchet, speculate about the future of religion after the secularisation process which is now clearly present in the various collective and individual fields of advanced modern society[2]. Going far beyond the secularisation of sciences studied from Max Weber onwards, today the secularisation of daily life and lifestyles of individuals is another form of leaving religion behind. Autonomy reaches even individual practices, less and less deriving from one’s own religion of belonging, more and more from personal choices, thereby becoming increasingly problematical and reflexive. Of course when we speak about leaving religion we do not mean individual faith but the organizational model of society where religion is no longer the fundamental structure. Religion’s new relationship with public socio-political institutions – the main happening in the West in modernity, spreading and influencing the whole planet – has encouraged a religious feeling conceived as part of the intimate personal sphere. Gauchet believes the modern revolution of laws gave rise to individuals’ original rights deriving their legitimation from what today we call The Rights of Man.

Such changes had already taken place in the paganism of ancient Greece and Rome preceding Jewish, Christian and Islamic monotheism. Greek philosophy derived from the secularisation of mythology through the rational reformulation of the great myths. Modern humanism too, from Descartes to Hegel, began from the secularisation of part of the Christian religion. All the great philosophies have been secularisations of precedent religions so that we cannot understand the former without knowledge of the latter. In his preface to The Dawn of Day, Nietzsche claims to be heir to the Enlightenment and those who secularised religion, and to wish to continue the work of secularising the previous secularisation, because the Enlightenment too still contained its religious structure[3]. One could say that Nietzsche’s work finds its fulfillment in the leaving of religion theorized by Marcel Gauchet, Pierre Clastres and whoever denies religion as heteronomy.“

Throughout almost all of human history religion has been principally and basically a means of structuring human-social space, a way to be of society. Its primordial nature is to be an organization linking men under the sign of dependence upon the invisible or the supernatural. All the rules which bind us together come from outside us, before us and from higher than us. Religion is primarily the organization or heteronomy”[4]. Individual and collective life are based on heteronomy to the extent that “disobedience to legitimate authority is considered an attack against religion itself, criticism of power as blasphemy, lack of respect towards established order as a profanation, calling into question the subject of authority as a rebellious act”[5]. Religion is in its true sense a matter of institution, a human-social fact of heteronomy. This is the point of view of Gauchet who – not by chance – does not speak about secularisation but about “the fading of religion” (heteronomy). But where will this process lead and what will be the consequences (now that religions with such different/distant views of laicity are dealing with Europe) of religious and cultural pluralism, of secularisation/heteronomy?

The situation in Europe today is that even some Christian believers are reformulating their religious faith in terms which are more compatible with the principle of rejecting heteronomy. If the divine is not of the material or the temporal order, it must be collocated in the heart of man and in the transcendence which s/he perceives in him/herself. In the words of Blaise Pascal: “It is the heart which perceives God and not the reason. That is what faith is: God perceived by the heart”.

Flight from heteronomy, which today substantially means the fading of religious structuring in Western European societies, does not contradict the persistence of religious life on the personal level. Indeed, even in contexts of maximum secularisation – the disappearance of heteronomy – the private dimension of religion, sensitivity towards ultimate questions about individual and collective human destiny, a sense of life’s fundamental experiences and the overall ethical orientation of existence – all these remain. It is on this personal scale that spiritualities and their multiplication of forms are located. Religion – from the perspective of leaving heteronomy – may be said to be present now only in the forms of spirituality such as the site of meaning, of answers to questions about a good life and salvation. Spiritualities deal with matters of love and death, suffering, pain, being loved, banality, bringing up children and everything to do with life’s important existential questions. They have always been present in all religions, in Christianity, in Judaism, in Islam and (partly) in Buddhism, and today they are lay spiritualities, often linked to the tradition of great philosophies, carriers of answers to existential questions – but bypassing faith in God and historical churches.

To conclude: leaving religion (behind)? Perhaps, but a lot of questions remain open. The first is the billions of Christian and Muslim faithful in the world, with their history, traditions, institutions and styles of life. The second is that Islam is the most politicized religion in the world. Its presence as a political force is linked not so much to the failure of modernisation as to some of society’s post-political forms, the disintegration of mechanisms which traditionally safeguarded loyalty within communities. Islam does not simply demonstrate a political side; it is in itself politics demonstrating the social fabric. Going far beyond its spiritual dimension, Islam constitutes the space of identities and their passions. Even recent forms of integralism are not so much religion re-entering the political sphere but the return of politics as such. Islam’s political dimension survives more in Shiite communities than among the majority Sunnis. Ayatollah Khomeini himself asserted: “The religion of Islam is a political religion; it is a religion in which everything is politics, even gestures of devotion and prayer”. The more concise definition that Islam is politics or it is nothing shows that we are not looking at a system of beliefs, or its authenticity, but rather at a force conceived as a political-cultural programme, a tool and a sign of collective identity, a part of public space over which “our” group exercises control in order to assert “our” hegemony. This political dimension of Islam derives from its own theological vision. There is no real or symbolic concept of paternity in God/Allah. In this theological desert between God and man, God intervenes only when the paternal function is missing and structures of relationship or blood ties are having trouble taking root. This was Freud’s problem with Islam since he had based all his theory about the religion on the correspondence between God/Allah and the father, and the sense of guilt which unites brothers for having killed their father. The desert between God/Allah and the father is rather the place where politics is instituted and the unexpected present relevance of Islam is activated. The umma, the community of Muslim believers, superimposes the religious and the political (the community is directly rooted in the word of God). Furthermore, in the genealogical desert the umma (as egalitarian, revolutionary brotherhood created out of nothing) represents the most alive form of Islam. In reality the most effective expression of Islam comes about in contexts where young people are deprived of the protective networks traditionally associated with the family and identify with the umma. In such conditions Islam reveals its tendency to be politics, morality, law and – above all – identity for its followers.

2. Islam des Lumières

Europe is undergoing a period of great responsibility. Movements of migratory populations in proportions hitherto unseen mean the start of the planetary age, with untold demographic and social consequences. This is the question facing Europe which is receiving immigrants and the present world of Muslims arriving in lay secular societies which theorize and practice leaving religion (behind). This problem has also been exercising the minds of a component of the French Muslim world for some time. This Muslim elite, known as Islam des Lumières, starts from the premise of the possibility of integrating Islam into lay, secular societies by means of great theological, cultural and social transformations. Scholars from various disciplines and ideological orientations belong to Islam des Lumières, but they all seem to share the vision of Islam abandoning the rigid autonomy which we have seen above[6].

Lay, secular societies are those which took shape in the Western world from 1700 onwards as the result of secularisation and the consequent general functional differentiation of the entire society. The competences of the various existing sub-systems (family, school, economics, politics, care-giving, religion, culture) were specialised and new ones – these too specialised – created. Each of the above subsystems became independent, autonomous, no longer under the control of religion: it became lay. The family, for example, had to concentrate on its own functions but had to give up other functions which had in the past been within its competence. Suffice it to reflect upon how many traditional functions the nuclear family with both parents working had to renounce. This co-presence of multiple sub-systems represents the complexity of modern society. Sub-systems which used to have widespread competences lost symbolic and real importance both on the individual and the collective levels, as well as having to meet new competitive challenges from other sub-systems. The system that changed most was religion: it was no longer expected to provide shape, rules and timetables also to economic, social and cultural activities. It is no longer religion which furnishes content and sense to individuals’ lifestyles and their daily activities. Secularisation has deprived religion of many of its traditional functions and competences, making civil society autonomous, independent and separate from the sacred – and this is secular society.

The exponents of Islam des Lumières do not ask themselves whether Islam is compatible with modernity, but which spiritual revolution is necessary for co-habitation with – and nourishing – modernity. Thus wrote Abdennour Bidar in his 2015 Open Letter to the Muslim World:

Dear Muslim World,
I am one of your separated children, watching you from outside and from afar. I watch you with critical eyes, the eyes of a philosopher who grew up with Sufism and Western thought …. I see you better than others because I see you from afar with detachment. I see that you are in a condition of misery and suffering, which makes me extremely sad, but also makes my judgement as a philosopher more severe …. In you, o Muslim World, I see great energy ready to be released in order to contribute to this worldwide effort to find a spiritual way for the 21st century. Indeed, despite the seriousness of the disease and the extent of the obscurantist shadows which threaten to envelop you completely, I see in you an extraordinary multitude of women and men ready to reform Islam, to re-create its genius beyond its historical forms and to participate in the total renewal of the relationship which humankind has maintained with its gods up to now. I have addressed my books to all those – Muslims and non-Muslims – who together hope for the spiritual renewal.

First, in the Islam des Lumières perspective, there is the principle of the relativisation of political power subjected to the judgement of legitimacy on the part of inviolable individual conscience. This agrees with the Judaeo-Christian tradition that it is God who frees human beings, with a consequent re-ordering of politics. It is the individual conscience which judges political power – not the other way around.Islam cannot avoid overcoming its identification as State religion, State divinity, almost as if this identity were a necessary condition to ensure State stability. This is the meeting-point between Giudaeo-Christian-Islamic thought and liberal-democratic culture. The distinction between the State and the divine reality creates a space of freedom where a person may even oppose the State. This is the process of rationalisation and disenchantment of the world which developed in the West with modernity. It is no longer necessary – as Max Weber wrote – to fall back on magic to dominate or pacify spirits, as does the savage for whom such powers exist[7]. If nymphs no longer blow gently over water springs, and Jupiter no longer hurls thunderbolts from the heavens, this is a purification of faith from superstition – in no way a denial of the possibility of transcendent reality. If secularisation amounts to a disenchanted world inhabited by humanity which, aware of its own finiteness and fallibility, does not have delusions of being God, it is a clear leavetaking of a monotheistic vision. But there still remain the great questions of the sense of life, history and the universe. “It is precisely because the great questions are beyond the grasp of our mind that man remains a religious being despite all the processes of demythicizing, of secularisation, of affirmation of the death of God, which characterize the modern – and even more the contemporary – age”[8].What was the development of secularisation resulting from nascent Christianity which rationalised mythological powers, transforming them into natural laws? “The petrification of science in the period of commentators and scholastics kept the knowledge of nature amassed by scientific research at the level attained by Aristotle until the beginning of the modern era. But this long period of immobility also brought about a slow, steady change in man’s attitude to the cosmos. The last traces of the old Greek mythological subservience to the cosmos were eliminated by the influence of Christianity and the organized Church. By divorcing man and his vital interests from natural phenomena the Church helped to create the feeling that the cosmos was something alien and remote from man. It was this feeling that prepared men’s minds for the next stage in which the investigator faced nature as its dissector and conqueror and thereby ushered in our own scientific era which still, after four centuries, retains its vigour undimmed”[9].

Secondly, in the Islam des Lumières point of view, there is awareness of the complexity of discourse between contemporary Islam and secular societies. Other scholars have formulated typologies of these various views of the Muslim world. Felice Dassetto of the University of Brussels has proposed four forms of contemporary Muslim thought[10]. The first, “restitutive foundationism”, means making Islam relevant again – to the letter – to the bases of its origins. It is a literal re-activation of the texts and practices of Islam’s founding to return to the ancient salafiyya and purify Islam of the dross accumulated over the centuries. The second, “adaptive foundationism”, maintains that the original texts and experiences should be interpreted and judged on the basis of the present day, with some room for manoeuvre in adapting to non-Muslim societies. The third, “symbolic foundationism”, also refers to Islam’s fundamental thought and original experience, not to reproduce it in every respect but to draw inspiration from it for living in the present. It has the symbolic power of the origins and the power of the faith of the contemporary believer. The fourth, “deconstructive”, aims to use human sciences such as history, anthropology, archaeology, sociology, linguistics and hermeneutics to rebuild the nascent moment. Interpretation of original revelation, of hadiths and their transmission, should be carried out in order to find the sense in them which contemporary sciences allow to be found. Compatibility with modernity is possible for this reforming vision as long as some theological and organizational elements of individual and collective life due to integralism are abolished: examples are the jihad, the burka, polygamy, stoning, the lack of lifestyles freedom and other aspects of sharia law resulting from fundamentalism. From Averroes and his book Fasl al-Maqual (which attempted to conciliate reason and revelation) to Ali Abdel Razik (a caliphate without Islamic teachings, an extraordinary invention) to Malek Chebel (love in Islam), reformers have never formulated a critique of religion as such: they have limited themselves to criticizing interpretations of Islam which they consider false.

In addition to Dassetto’s four types, another seems to be taking form: it is directly connected with the context in which Muslims leave their country of origin and emigrate to non-Muslim Western countries. According to some scholars, this is the situation where Islam demonstrates its incompatibility with modern life and secular societies[11]. Relying on its origins, Islam is incapable of reforming with a view to the future. Despite the attempts of new Muslim thinkers, no epistemological break with Islamic dogma is possible. Not having generated a modernity of their own, Muslims owe allegiance only to their anti-modern religion. “The difference between modernity and Islam is fundamental. From the Islamic point of view, man acts under the gaze of Allah, who ensures him his freedom. In modernity it is the human being who represents the absolute value of the universe. Not only that but Islamic theology is opposed to the development of reason, individual responsibility and free exercise of the critical spirit – the three pillars upon which modernity rests”[12]. The separation of reason and revelation is unavoidable for the co-habitation of Islam in secular societies. “Without privatisation of religion and the establishment of the rule of law, there can be neither true democracy nor salvific religion but only an amalgam uniting the defects of both”[13].

In this contribution I would like to introduce – with the analogy of both the theory of leaving religion/heteronomy and of Islam des Lumières – the form of spirituality Islam or interior Islam or hermeneutical Islam. From this perspective the only way to the citizenship of Muslims in the West is taking leave of the verbatim Koranic system as the only source of precepts and obligations. By its very nature modernity is a carrier of doubt and diversity, and even religion cannot dominate souls as a mass ideology but only as individual spirituality.

3. The matter of hermeneutics

The question of hermeneutics – the interpretation of the “holy books” which every religion recognizes as the foundation of its existence – becomes more important with the transformation of the historical and cultural conditions in which its faithful live. Is there only one interpretative key, legitimate for all historical contexts, to reading sacred texts or does understanding them vary according to historical conditions? This is the hermeneutical question which Christianity has asked itself from the beginning in order to understand its scriptures. Anybody can understand their obvious meaning, but only those who study them in depth can also understand their original meaning in its context. Reason is the instrument for interpreting and understanding religious texts: a theory of interpretation which makes use of reason is indispensable.

The above is as true for religious texts as it is for fables and German Romantic poetry. The problems it poses both on the linguistic level and on that of the wider, more specific one of the philosophy of spoken thought are at the heart of Paul Ricoeur’s reflections[14]. The French philosopher attempts to solve the age-old ethical and theoretical problem posed by any exercise of cultural intercommunication between different spoken and written languages. The ethical problem is between faithfulness and betrayal: the theoretical problem is the construction of comparability in the absence of a common original language.

In Christian theology -  with the exception of some Evangelical movements – the Bible does not literally contain the word of God, just the words of a message inspired by God which, as such, requites continuous proper interpretation. This leads to the consciousness that every interpretation is an interpretation of a previous interpretation. The various religious theologies are an infinite series of interpretations. The idea of infinite interpretation of founding texts is today the most subtle challenge facing religions; and denying the historical validity of all interpretations is the most confining temptation.

Christian churches arrived at this view of sacred scripture through a centuries-long interpretative itinerary. For them interpretative models of the Bible have a long history which is not yet terminated. Only by recalling the phases of development of the four-sources theory – the JEPD theory – formulated in 1878 by the German Biblical scholar and Orientalist Julius Wellhausen to explain the formation of the Pentateuch (e.g. the four different names used for God in the first five books of the Old Testament) – do we see the reasons for, and the difficulties of, hermeneutics. In the mid-nineteenth century German theological faculties found it necessary to deal with the evolutionary hypotheses of the English naturalist Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species (1859). Their difficulty was with Biblical texts, especially the Book of Genesis. Wellhausen re-elaborated concepts proposed by various scholars in the preceding two centuries, re-presenting them in his work Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels (1878). His documental hypothesis was broadly accepted in the nineteenth century, playing a very important part in the birth of historical criticism of religions and the exegesis of Biblical historicity. In that period Biblical hermeneutics took shape in Protestant universities, spreading later to the Catholic world. Today there is no shortage of criticism of, and alternative proposals to, Wellhausen’s theory of sources, but the hermeneutical principle survives in the reading of Biblical texts. The latest confirmation is that the interpretative principle is applied today even in the Catholic world not only with reference to the Old Testament but also to the Gospels[15].

The hermeneutics question is relevant in the present context, especially to the Muslim world and the interpretation of the Koran and its other religious sources. The Bible has a narrative dimension, unlike the Koran which is organized around a set of orders, instructions and sayings. When a Muslim reads the Koran, “it is written” closes every argument rather than opening it up to understand its sense. What makes it impossible for a Muslim to consider the religion as a spirituality is the unmodifiable nature of the Koranic text. Reviewing the hermeneutical models of written sources within Islam is significant for two reasons. One is that each time there emerges an aspect of defining the nature of the Book for every historical period. The second is one can find some aspects of a recurring evolutionary paradigm in Religions of the Book, especially the Christian, of faith in the Book’s “myth” as a sacred object of the “Word of God” until the discovery of its historicity. It is hermeneutics which enables discovery of the Book’s sense. In the Islamic environment it is the question of the nature of the sacred Book, whether it is the Word of God or God’s human word. Islam des Lumières in France in recent years has posed the problems of the theology of the Book and the hermeneutical theory in serious, critical terms – something which had hitherto been lacking in Islam[16].

In the Muslim view, on the contrary, the Koran is the Word of God to be taken literally. Since its text does not need to be mediated by the believer, it leaves no room for interpretation. From the epistemological point of view this means that divine truth is not mysterious, impenetrable Otherness but a message revealed directly to the mind of the reader. To penetrate the Absolute it is not necessary to explore the mystery of reality: for believers the Absolute is already here, stripped of the complexity and ambivalence of reality. What is ambiguous about this vision is the existing gap between our mind and the reality of the world outside; a gap which remains even when the believer is no longer searching for the Absolute but continues to interpret things of individual and collective life through the same hermeneutical model. “In this case, the gap turns into the one that characterizes nominalism, the gap between external reality and the names we give to things in that reality: universal notions are no longer grounded in objective reality (as they are in the Aristotelian ontology of Thomas Aquinas), but are instead free constructions formed on the basis of confused impressions. These universal notions are either contingent (which opens up the way to cultural relativism) or necessary (which opens up the way to Kantian transcendentalism) – in both cases, the gap between our universal notions and external reality is insurmountable”[17].

According to the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek in the above passage, the gap is the basis of different epistemological interpretations of a sacred text. First it may lead to a form of fundamentalist dogmatism of the truth, as if our mind were able to know the truth directly without mediation. It is an epistemological view based on subjectivist ontology according to which a subject accedes to knowledge independently of objective reality. The gap may foster historical and cultural relativism in which truth is a contingent construction relevant to specific situations. Finally, the gap may lead to transcendental subjectivism where a universal truth is necessary a priori, “but it is the truth of a transcendental subject that frames our access to reality, not the truth of reality itself”[18]. In a vision of such reality it is easy to pass from direct absolutism to nominalist relativism. If real knowledge is possible only through a slow, serious understanding of reality, every direct declaration of absolute truth corresponds with an absolutised subjectivism where every contingent element acquires an absolute nature. According to Žižek, modernity (and not only in the religious field) oscillates between objectivism and/or reductionist naturalism (where forms of knowledge directed by objective reality prevail) and “post-modern” cultural relativism (where forms of knowledge of subjectivist relativism prevail). In this perspective modernity’s most ambivalent connotation is in its giving primacy to epistemology over ontology. It is Descartes’s thought whereby before knowing reality it is necessary to find out the basis of the knowledge, its methods and their trustworthiness.

To escape from the vicious cycle of gaps indicated by Žižek there remains Thomas Aquinas’s classical realism whereby universals are immanent qualities of objective external reality and the cognitive process is a long, laborious process towards the universal essence of things through their particular essence. If this realism sounds familiar it is because it reminds us of elements of the realism of Soviet dialectical materialism, the understanding of which demands complex interaction of different (mechanical, biological, social and spiritual) levels against every possible reductionist monism. Slavoj Žižek concludes his analysis of relations between Muslim roots and modernity by pointing out the common reaction of dialectical materialism and neo-Thomist philosophy. “The question to be raised here is what then remains of paradigmatically modern notions like democracy, human rights and freedoms etc., which are all grounded in modern subjectivity. Can one imagine a common front of radical Islam and modern subjectivity directed against the alliance of Christian and dialectical-materialist orthodoxies?”[19].

Conclusion

Islam and Christianity cannot continue to be only what they were in the beginning. At the dawn of the third millennium religions cannot but face up to the human rights of all individuals, the autonomy of sciences, politics, culture and bio-ethics. No religion can dictate the definitive set of rules forever. The very evolution of individual lifestyles, independently of their religious belonging, shows how little Christians and Muslims are able to resist the consumer temptations inherent in modernity. Global pluralism, the de-institutionalisation of many traditional foundations of collective life, fascination with showy consumption and all the other myths of advanced modernity demonstrate the tearing apart of – even Muslim – identity, deriving perhaps from hatred fuelled by decades of the imposition of a rigid identity and cultural specificity.

Luigi Berzano

University of Turin

Notes

[1] S. Frederick Starr, Lost Enlightenment. Central Asia’s Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane, Princeton University Press, 2013. Starr is the founder of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program, a research center associated with Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and with the Stockholm Institute for Security and Development Policy.

[2] Marcel Gauchet, Le Désenchantement du monde. Une histoire politique de la religion, 1985).

[3] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Dawn of Day, 1881.

[4] M. Gauchet, Un monde désenchanté, 2004 p. 159.

[5] R. Legros, La naissance de l'individu moderne, in /various authors) La naissance de l'individu dans l'art, Grasset, Paris, 2005, p. 139.

[6] Among various scholars the following may be indicated: A. Filali-Ansary, Abdou, Reformer l'islam? Une introduction aux débats eoutemporains, Paris, La Découverte, 2003; R. Benzine, Les nouveaux penseurs ilt' l'islam, Paris, Albin Michel, 2004; R. Benzine, Manifeste pour un islam des Lumières, Paris, Hachette, 2004; A. Bidar, Un islam pour notre temps, Paris, Seuil, 2004 – L'islam sans soumission, Paris, Albin Michel, 2008; K. Bentounès, L'homme intérieur à la Iumière du Coran, Paris, Pocket, 1996; M. Lings, Un saint soujì du XX' siècle: le cheikh Ahmad al-Alawi, Paris, Seuil, 1990; T. Oubrou, Profession imam, Paris, Albin Michel, 2008; Ali Abderreziq, L'islam et les fondements du pouvoir, trad. fr., Paris, La Dcouverte, 1994; Mahnioud Mohammed Taha, Un islam à vocation libératrice, trad. fr., Paris, L'Harmattan, 2002; Sur Sami Youssouf voir F. el Asri, «Au croisement des mondialisations. Le CIIS du chanteur Sami Youssouf», Recherches sociologiques et anthropologiques, 2006/2; F. Skali, La voie sonfì, Paris, Albin Michel, 1998; Leface-à-face des cmurs. Le souJìsme aujourd'hui, Paris, Pocket, 2002.

[7] Max Weber, Science as a Vocation (Wissenschaft als Beruf), 1919.

[8] Norberto Bobbio, in Che cosa fanno oggi i filosofi?, Bompiani, Milano 1962

[9] Samuel Sambursky, The Physical World of the Greeks, Routledge, 1956, pp. 242-243.

[10] Felice Dassetto, “Réflexions autour de la pensée musulmane contemporaine” in Felice Sassetto (coord.), Discours musulmains. Diversitè et cadrages, Academia L’harmattan, 2016, pp. 11-43.

[11] Hamid Zanaz, Sfida laica all’islam. La religione contro la vita, Elèuthera, Milano, 2013.

[12] Ibidem p, 166.

[13] Daryush Shayegan, Questions internationales, Septembre-Octobre, 2006.

[14] Paul Ricoeur, La traduzione tra etica ed ermeneutica, Morcelliana, Brescia, 2001; Tradurre l’intraducibile. Sulla traduzione, Urbaniana University Press, Rome, 2008 

[15] The document The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church from the Pontifical Biblical Commission (1993) says: “The interpretation of biblical texts continues in our own day to be a matter of lively interest and significant debate. In recent years the discussions involved have taken on some new dimensions …. The problem is therefore quite old. But it has been accentuated with the passage of time. Readers today, in order to appropriate the words and deeds of which the Bible speaks, have to project themselves back almost 20 or 30 centuries – a process which always creates difficulty. Furthermore, because of the progress made in the human sciences, questions of interpretation have become more complex in modern times. Scientific methods have been adopted for the study of the texts of the ancient world. To what extent can these methods be considered appropriate for the interpretation of holy Scripture? … A more positive attitude has also evolved, signalled by a whole series of pontifical documents, ranging from the encyclical Providentissimus Deus of Leo XIII (Nov. 18, 1893) to the encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu of Pius XII (Sept. 30, 1943), and this has been confirmed by the declaration Sancta Mater Ecclesia of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (April 21, 1964) and above all by the dogmatic constitution Dei Verbum of the Second Vatican Council (Nov. 18, 1965). That this more constructive attitude has borne fruit cannot be denied”.

[16] Various authors, L’ermeneutica delle fonti nelle tradizioni ebraica, islamica, cattolica e luterana, Urbaniana University Press, Città del Vaticano 2004.

[17] Slavoj Žižek, The Courage of Hopelessness: Chronicles of a Year of Acting Dangerously, 2017, pp. 136-137.

[18] Ibidem p. 137.

[19] Ibidem, p.138.