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The Anthropology of Islamic LawEducation, Ethics, and Legal Interpretation at Egypt's Al-Azhar$
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Aria Nakissa

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190932886

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190932886.001.0001

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Hermeneutic Theory and Practice Theory in the Study of Cultural, Legal, and Religious Traditions

Hermeneutic Theory and Practice Theory in the Study of Cultural, Legal, and Religious Traditions

Chapter:
(p.21) 1 Hermeneutic Theory and Practice Theory in the Study of Cultural, Legal, and Religious Traditions
Source:
The Anthropology of Islamic Law
Author(s):

Aria Nakissa

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190932886.003.0002

This chapter discusses hermeneutic theory and practice theory, situating them with respect to the work of Geertz and Asad. It then clarifies precisely how hermeneutic theory and practice theory can be brought together in the analysis of cultural, legal, and religious traditions, giving special attention to the Islamic tradition. One of the chapter’s central claims is that knowledge of Sharīʿa rules can be conceptualized as knowledge of a mind (i.e., God’s mind). Moreover, knowledge of a mind can be inferred from signs/effects of that mind. In the Islamic tradition, these signs/effects include: (1) the Qurʾan, (2) the reported actions of the Prophet Muḥammad (Sunna), (3) the reported actions of religious scholars from the past, and (4) the observed actions of present-day religious scholars.

Keywords:   Islam, law, religion, anthropology, hermeneutics, practice theory, Sharīʿa, Qurʾan, Sunna

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