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Ilma Bogdan

Ilma Bogdan

PhD candidate,

Areas of interest:

Comparative religion

Religious fundamentalism

Scriptural hermeneutics

Protestantism and Sunni Islam

Religion and politics


BA in International Journalism, International Relations and French (MGIMO); MA in International Relations (King's College London); MA in Near and Middle Eastern Studies (SOAS); PhD in Theology and Religious Studies (Cambridge, ongoing).

My current work examines the claim that Protestant North American and Sunni Islamic fundamentalists have a similar approach to interpreting their sacred texts, the Bible and the Qur’an. The main feature of this approach is preference of literalist reading of scriptures, and I explore the concept of literalism, its meaning and applicability through surveying scriptural commentaries of four individuals, prominent in academic literature on religious fundamentalism, namely Jerry Falwell, Rousas Rushdoony, Sayyid Qutb, and Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi. The main question here is what stands for ‘literalism’ for each of those authors, how and in what way their literalist interpretation of scriptures is similar or not, and whether at all it is possible to apply this term as a workable description of their “hermeneutic style”. As a result, findings of my study are putting to test some of the existing terminology and labels applied to religious fundamentalism. By dissecting a widely-cited, but understudied comparative category of fundamentalist hermeneutic style, I add another dimension to the Western academic debate on religious fundamentalism and the validity of comparative categories for this phenomenon.

Subject area and speciality

Religious Studies specialists:

Comparative literalisms: an assessment of Christian and Islamic fundamentalist scriptural hermeneutics through the writings of Falwell, Rushdoony, Qutb and Al-Maqdisi

Research Interests

  • Religion in contemporary socio-political context
  • Modernity, secularisation and the role of faith
  • Comparative religion: approaches, methods and sources
  • Scriptural interpretation and normativity

Other Professional Activities

Launched a round of discussions (hosted by The Woolf Institute): "Faith and Brexit: Potential implications of Brexit for the UK faith communities"

Key Publications

"Language of Jihadism" The Journal of Terrorism & Cyber Insurance 2/5: 10-17, 2018 


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