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Jennifer Fields

Subject area and speciality

Religious Studies specialists:

Scriptural Reasoning from the Perspective of the Islamic Tradition

Claims about friendship, hospitality, learning scripture, arguing, and proselytizing appear in both Scriptural Reasoning literature and practice: in descriptions of, guidance through, and advocacy for the practice of Scriptural Reasoning. My thesis begins with an initial framework, with the identification of these claims, and a sketch of the background from which the authors’ statements emerged (eg. which traditions or texts are they drawing upon). I will then examine the six claims about Scriptural Reasoning through the lens of the Islamic tradition. I am looking at the claims in light of the history of Muslim attitudes towards/relationships with Jews and Christians and with the scriptures of Jews and Christians. I am exploring questions such as: Is there theological support for these claims? Is there anything theologically at stake with these claims? For historical responses to these questions, I will look to the Qur’an, classical and modern tafsīr, hadīth, and supporting secondary literature. For contemporary responses to these questions, I will look to contemporary scholarship and I will conduct anthropological fieldwork. The fieldwork takes place in Scriptural Reasoning groups, Qur'anic study circles, and hadith study circles in Blackburn, UK.

The goal of my research is to construct a dialogue between voices of Scriptural Reasoning and voices from the Islamic tradition. I will propose how the claims might be qualified, revised, or reaffirmed in light of this dialogue, considering possible implications and responses. I will also address other audiences, scholars of interfaith dialogue and Islam/interfaith relations, offering to them insight into possible ways of thinking about language used—and the potential implications of such language—in descriptions of other types of interfaith dialogue, and demonstrating one practical way of examining that language.

Islamic studies specialists:

Scriptural Reasoning from the Perspective of the Islamic Tradition

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