The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason; 1798 to Modern Times

Christopher de Bellaigue. Liveright, $35 (560p) ISBN 978-0-87140-373-5
In this expansive historical account and commentary, de Bellaigue (In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs) recounts Islam’s “painful encounter with modernity” through the history of Turkey, Egypt, and Iran. The text is broad in scope and bold in its aims, attempting to chart the sometimes contradictory and manifold contours of this “Islamic Enlightenment” and disturb paternalistic notions of “the Muslim world” on the part of imprudent Western observers. De Bellaigue does well to manage a wide swathe of political, economic, religious, and cultural historical personages in the vortex among Istanbul, Cairo, and Tehran, but his tone can be condescending, and his treatment of Islamic theologies of reform is overly simplistic. Even so, this is a text that demands attention for its splendid prose, command of an entire treasury of history, and ability to undermine the misplaced patronization of Middle Eastern Muslim nations over the last 300 years. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
Compact Disc - 978-1-5200-7433-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-5200-7437-5
Open Ebook - 560 pages - 978-1-63149-333-1
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