Critical hermeneutics: contemporary philosophical perspectives in Turkey on the understanding and interpretation of the Qur'an
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date30/11/2021
From the moment of its revelation, the Qur’an has held a pivotal importance for Muslims. However, reverence for the Qur’an did not by default mean an indiscriminate application of its message. On the contrary, as old as the Qur’an is, there is also an equally old tradition of hermeneutics that ponders upon the operations and conditions in which the meanings of the Qur’an become intelligible and significant for different contexts. In this dissertation I have explored the hermeneutical theories of three Turkish thinkers by asking the following question: what is the status of new and variant interpretations of the Qur’an in contemporary Turkish Qur’an hermeneutics as exemplified by the works of Cündioğlu, Alpyağıl, and Öztürk? Accordingly, I have discovered that new and different interpretations of the Qur’an are only meaningful and justified if they fulfil the right subjective and objective requirements an interpreter must impose on him or herself as a subject. On the objective side these requirements include the following of a formal method and understanding of the historical use of Arabic. However, on the subjective side, other requirements are stipulated, such as faith, conscience, and self-knowledge. By integrating subjectivity in interpretation, the Turkish authors open a constructive theoretical path to new readings of the Qur’an that are informed by the subject’s relative context. However, despite reaching new thresholds of interpretation, the Turkish authors have chosen to defer the full potential of their hermeneutics to the prudence of future interpreters, rather than having chosen to explicate these themselves.