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Visiting Speaker: Dr Meir Hatina Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Pulpit and the Battlefield: Contested Notions of Religious Authority in Modern Islam

The expansion of secular education, the rise of a literate public, and the development of mass media in the Arab and Muslim milieu from the nineteenth century onward evoked a strong measure of pluralization in religious knowledge, and a resultant fragmentation in religious authority and its sources. The religious scholarly community was transformed from an elitist body of ‘ulama’ and Sufi shaykhs to a dissolute group and an arena for various cultural agents who struggled for representation and political power, as well as for the right to shape the values of society. The lecture explores major developments in the concept of religious authority in modern Islamic thought, analyzing its sources and spokesmen, while also providing comparative insights regarding Sunna and Shi‘a, as well as Islam and Judaism.

Event details


Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies