The Expansion of Prophetic Experience

Essays on Historicity, Contingency and Plurality in Religion

Abdulkarim Soroush is known primarily for his epistemological/hermeneutical theory, the “Contraction and Expansion of Religious Knowledge,” and its application to Islamic political theory and religious pluralism. While his Reason, Freedom and Democracy in Islam applies that theory to plurality and the historicity of understanding and interpretation of religion, this book captures some of his original theories about religion itself. The Expansion of Prophetic Experience treats the historicity of the Prophet Muhammad’s revelatory experience, including human and contextual influences on the genesis of the sacred Text. It presents substantial aspects of Soroush’s Neo-Rationalist hermeneutical project for an Islamic reformed theology and ethics, systematically leading Islamic reformation beyond conventional projects of piecemeal adjustments to the Shariʿah or selective re-interpretations of the Qurʾān.

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Abdulkarim Soroush was professor of Islamic Philosophy at the Academy of Philosophy (Tehran, Iran). He has since 2000 been visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia and Georgetown Universities; and visiting scholar at Free University of Amsterdam and ISIM (Netherlands) and Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. Winner of the Erasmus Prize (2004), Soroush was chosen one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by (2005).
Dr Soroush is one of the leading Muslim reformers today. A practicing Muslim trained in Islamic thought in Iran and science in London, he bridges two world cultures. The material in this book has proved highly controversial in Muslim circles. But it must represent the way forward for Islam in the modern world. This is an immensely important book which Muslims and non-Muslims alike should read.
Professor John Hick, Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Research,
University of Birmingham, UK

To a Western reader, unfamiliar with the complexity, diversity, and depth of the Muslim tradition, Soroush’s book offers a vista into a
radically modern form of Muslim theology, philosophy of religion, and religious studies. What makes Soroush’s position so original and unique
is his combination of uncompromising analytical rationalism and deep mysticism."
Jose Casanova,
Professor of Sociology and Senior Fellow
Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs
Georgetown University, USA

"Abdolkarim Soroush is a leading Muslim reformist thinker who advocates the reunification of religiosity and secular reasoning in Iran (and, by implication, in the Islamic world). He insists that reason is not Western or Eastern in its nature and that religiousbelievers cannot accurately understand God’s message, or live a dignified socio-political life, while remaining ignorant of reason and its corollaries such as universal human rights and democratic citizenship. This book is an immensely important contribution to contemporary philosophy of religion in Iran in particular and in the Muslim world in general. The translator has done an excellent job in converting the technical text from Persian into English. "
Alireza Shomali
Department of Political Science
Wheaton College, Massachusetts, USA