Universität Erfurt

Professur für Islamwissenschaft

Heydar Shadi: Between Apology, Critique and Theory: Abdolkarim Soroush and Outline of a New Paradigm in Islamic Philosophy of Religion

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Brief Biodata

1975:          born in Marand, Azarbaijan, Iran
1981-1992: School: Shahid Shadi, Shmalu, Valiasr
1992-1996: Seminary of Qom, Qom, Iran
1996-2000: B.A. in Philosophy, Mofid University, Qom, Iran
2000-2003: M.A. in Philosophy, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran
2003-2007: Research Assistant, Institute of Medical Ethics Centre, Tehran, Iran
2008-2012: Ph.D., Erfurt University
2013- :        Researcher, Philosophisch-Technologische Hochschule Sankt Georgen, Frankfurt/M., Germany

Research Interests

Epistemology

Hermeneutics
Philosophy of religion
Islamic intellectual history
Religion and (post)modernity

Doctoral Work

This work deals with the intellectual discourse in post-revolutionary Iran. It concentrates on Abdolkarim Soroush’s epistemology and philosophy of religion and discusses how Soroush’s thought has developed from an apologetic theology to a new phase in Islamic thought. It suggests that Soroush’s theology evolved through interaction with Islamism, and other factors of the post-revolutionary Iranian context, into a pluralist, historicist and liberal theory of religion; a theory that regards Islam as being one contextual dialogue, among many, between man and the Absolute and regards the Koran as being Mohammad’s interpretation of his prophetic experience and in other words “The Word of Mohammad”. From this vantage point, the Koran is now there not as an ahistorical verbal revelation but as a “text” to be decoded and demythologized, all from within a religious perspective that does not necessitate a de-legitimization of Islam as a religion.

Historicism, nominalism and hermeneutics are introduced as being the main concepts of Soroush’s epistemology. The central position of epistemology in Soroush’s thought and the radical break that Soroush makes with traditional Islamic epistemology, through the aid of a historicist-transnational approach to religion, is interpreted as an “epistemological turn” in Islamic reform discourse. Then “post-Islamist theology”, “historical-critical approach”, and “going beyond Orientalism-Occidentalism” are discussed as the results of this epistemological turn and outline of a new paradigm in Islamic thought.

Academic Experience

05.2013-               Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Sankt Georgen,                                                 Frankfurt/M.
07.2004-08.2007  Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter des Bioethikzentrums der Medizinischen Universität Teheran,                                           Forschungsprojekt: „Die Prinzipien der Bioethik aus islamischer Sicht“

02.2004-04.2007  Lehrbeauftragter für Philosophie und Islamkunde an der Universität Jamee und Peyamnour,                                            Teheran, Iran, Lehrveranstaltungen: Einführung in die Philosophie, Islamkunde

07.2000-09.2001  Wissenschaftlische Hilfskraft in der Abteilung für Philosophie am Forschungszentrum für Human-                                    und Sozialwissenschaften, Qom, Iran.

Fellowships

2007 – 2011: Sprachkurs- und Promotionsstipendium, Katholischer Akademischer Ausländer-Dienst (KAAD)
2012:             DAAD Abschlussstipendium
07.2000:        Preis für den 3. Platz in der M.A.-Philosophie-Zulassungsprüfung auf Landesebene, Iran
07.1997:        Preis für den 3. Platz am Qom-Seminar, Iran

Memberships

Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Vorderer Orient (DAVO)
Deutsche Morgenländischen Gesellschaft (DMG)

Research Publications

2004   "The Ethics of Authenticity: a Review on Charles Taylor’s Ethics", in Name-ye Farhang, vol. 14, no. 53,                       76-91 (Persian).
2006   "An Introduction to Biomedical Ethics", in Journal of Ethics in Sciences and Technology, vol. 1, no. 1,                         91-98 (Persian).
2006   "Ethical Theories and Approaches to Bioethics", in Iranian Journal of Diabetes and Lipid Disorders, vol. 6,                      Supplement (Persian).
2007   Interfaith Dialogue and Religious Tolerance in Contemporary Islamic Thought: A Comparative Study on                          Fethullah Gülen and Abdulkarim Soroush, Peaceful Coexistence: Fethullah Gülen’s initiatives in                                   the contemporary world, London: Leeds Metropolitan University Press, 2007, pp. 289-297.
2007   "An Islamic Perspective on Euthanasia", in American Journal of Bioethics, April 2007, vol. 7, no. 4, 65-66                       (co-written by Kiarash Aramesh).
2008   "Another Reminder of the Inevitable Urge of Inter-Faith Negotiations: Iran's Reaction to Pope's Speech at                       Regensburg University" in Anstoß und Aufbruch: Zur Rezeption der Regensburger Rede Papst Benedikts                       XVI. bei Christen und Muslimen, Herausgeber: Heinz O. Luthe und Carsten-Michael Walbiner von                          Winkler. Bochum: Dr. Dieter Winkler.
2011   "Zur Geschichte und Gegenwart der islamischen Wissenschaften", in Al-Hikma, vol. 2. no. 2, Oktober 2011,                    215-217.
2013   "An Islamic Theology of Religions: a Survey on Soroush’s Interpretation of Religious Pluralism", in                               Zeitschrift für interkulturelle Theologie, 1/2013.

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