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16. Religious Studies

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on current debates in religious studies. It examines selected works of authors such as Azizah Al-Hibri, Riffat Hassan, Amina Wadud, Nimat Hafez Barazangi, and Asma Barlas. The chapter focuses on contributions of feminist interest and insights to the study of religion. Wadud suggests that any Qurʾānic hermeneutic must distinguish between the "spirit" of the Qurʾān, by which she means the principles of the Qurʾān, and the socially regulatory verses that spoke to the seventh-century Arabian contexts in which they were revealed. For the field of religious studies, the study of Muslim women and gender offers scope for theorizing about the confluence of religion, globalization, geopolitical realities and constructions, and feminism. It also locates religion as both the source of challenges for women and simultaneously as liberatory when coupled with new hermeneutical tools and strategic activism.

Keywords: Amina Wadud; Asma Barlas; Azizah Al-Hibri; gender issues; hermeneutical tools; Muslim women; Qurʾān; religious studies



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