Abdolkarim Soroush: The Neo-Muʿtazilite that Buries Classical Islamic Political Theology in Defence of Religious Democracy and Pluralism

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  • 1 LUISS University of Rome

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  • 9

    Soroush, The Expansion of Prophetic Experience, p. xvii. Time magazine proclaimed Soroush among the 100 most influential people in the world in 2005, and in 2008 Prospect magazine proclaimed him the 7th most influential intellectual in the world.

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  • 14

    Soroush, The Expansion of Prophetic Experience, p. 107.

  • 15

    Ibid., 340.

  • 16

    Ibid., 340.

  • 17

    Ibid., 340.

  • 18

    Ibid., 339.

  • 19

    Ibid., 339.

  • 20

    Ibid., 338.

  • 21

    Ibid., 329.

  • 22

    Ibid., 329.

  • 23

    Ibid., 340.

  • 24

    Ibid., 329.

  • 25

    Ibid., 338. Soroush is especially inspired by the Quranic image of a bee that produces honey; likewise, God created Muhammad, and inspired revelation to him, and the latter produced it according to particular linguistic, and socio-cultural circumstances (Ibid., 330).

  • 31

    Soroush, The Expansion of Prophetic Experience, 52.

  • 32

    Ibid., 202.

  • 33

    Ibid., 89.

  • 36

    Ibid., 90-91.

  • 37

    Ibid., 94-97.

  • 38

    Ibid., 107-115.

  • 39

    Ibid., 130.

  • 40

    Ibid., 178.

  • 41

    Ibid., 123.

  • 42

    Ibid., 122-123.

  • 43

    Ibid., 143-144. Soroush says that “a human religion is gradually born which is in keeping with human beings and an answer to their real circumstances” (Ibid., xxiv-xxvi). For the case of Islamic main sectarian division, he says “[N]either Shiism nor Sunnism is pure Islam”; “We have no pure race in the world, no pure language and no pure religion.” (Ibid., 143).

  • 47

    Soroush, Reason, Freedom, and Democracy, 109.

  • 52

    Soroush, The Expansion of Prophetic Experience, p. 150.

  • 53

    Ibid., 206-207.

  • 54

    Ibid., 323.

  • 55

    Ibid., 204-205.

  • 56

    Ibid., 326.

  • 57

    Ibid., 204.

  • 58

    Ibid., 205.

  • 59

    Ibid., 266.

  • 62

    Ibid., 137.

  • 64

    Soroush, The Expansion of Prophetic Experience, p. 152; pp. 160-161. In the same line of thought, he says “We have no other option but to accept plurality” (Ibid., 147). He also uses the term “rational modesty” (Ibid., 156) and “critical rationalism,” (Ibid., 157) to express the same point.

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  • 65

    Ibid., 156.

  • 66

    Ibid., 152.

  • 67

    Ibid., 142.

  • 68

    Ibid., 149-150.

  • 69

    Ibid., 145.

  • 72

    Ibid., 101.

  • 73

    Ibid., 100-101.

  • 74

    Ibid., 104.

  • 75

    Ibid., 106.

  • 76

    Ibid., 105. Soroush’s advances here are teleologist, and partly consequentialist. He cannot be said to be fully consequentialist since he still gives high value to the ”master values” which give meaning to life, and thus develop internal, spiritual, and existential need for them; a full consequentialist does not do that. Soroush is a Muʻtazilite in this point, which will be noted below.

  • 78

    Ibid., 128.

  • 80

    Ibid., 129.

  • 81

    Ibid., 130.

  • 82

    Ibid., 128.

  • 83

    Ibid., 130.

  • 84

    Ibid., 78-79.

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