Max Weber and Islam, edited by Toby E. Huff & Wolfgang Schluchter

Max Weber and Islam, edited by Toby E. Huff and Wolfgang Schluchter, Transactions Publishers, 1999.

Max Weber and Islam is a major effort by Islamic-studies specialists to reexamine and appraise Max Weber’s perspectives on Islam and its historical development. Eight specialists on Islam and two sociologists explore many dimensions of Weber’s comments on Islam, along with Weber’s conceptual framework. The volume’s introduction links the discussions to contemporary issues and debates.

Wolfgang Schluchter reconstructs Weber’s conceptual apparatus as it applies to Islam and its historical development. In subsequent chapters, Islamic specialists consider such major topics as the developmental history of Islam, Islamic fundamentalism, Islamic reform, Islamic law and capitalism, secularization in Islam, as well as the value of attempting to apply Weber’s concept of sects to Islam. While some authors find flaws in Weber’s factual knowledge of Islam, they also find considerable merit in the kinds of questions Weber raised.

Contributors to the volume include highly respected contemporary international scholars of Islam: Ira Lapidus, Nehemia Levtzion, Richard M. Eaton, Peter Hardy, Rudolph Peters, Barbara Metcalf, Francis Robinson, Patricia Crone, Michael Cook, and S.N. Eisenstadt. Toby Huff’s introduction not only knits the thematics of the separate essays together but adds its own stresses while engaging the contributors in dialogue and debate about fundamental issues. This acute collective analysis establishes a new benchmark for understanding Weber and Islam. This book also provides an up-to-date overview of the developmental history of many aspects of Islam. A major reappraisal of the entire span of Max Weber’s sociological thought on Islam, this book will appeal to a wide range of scholars and laymen interested in the Islamic world. It will be of particular interest to sociologists specializing in religion and Middle East area specialists.

 


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