A Culture of Ambiguity by Thomas Bauer

According to our Western world of imagination Islamic culture is dominated rigid religious standards that do not permit any variation. The people who fight against these stereotypes have responded by presenting a picture of the medieval Islamic “Golden Age,” marked by tolerance, rationality and even secularism in its proto-form. How do we comprehend Islamic culture, history, and thinking beyond this polarization?

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In this enlightening intellectual and cultural history, Thomas Bauer reconsiders classical and modern Islam by exploring the different attitudes towards the concept of ambiguity. Through a number of years, he ponders the conflict between one side that seeks to eradicate any uncertainty and establish absolute, undeniable truths and a second, more contested tendencies that seek ways to accept uncertainty and accept the complexity. 

Bauer explores the linguistic and cultural ambiguities, looking at the premodern Islamic cultural and textual forms that range from law to Quranic exegesis , to literary genres as well as attitudes towards foreigners and religious minorities. 
He focuses on the absence of conflicts between secular and religious discussions in traditional Islamic tradition, which is in stark contrast to the current fundamentalist movement and the majority of European historical. Bauer describes how Islam’s interactions in the present West and its need for absolute certainty led to the development of the development of both Islamicist and liberal secular ideas that , in their own ways, did not accept ambiguity, and consequently their own traditions of culture.

The book was awarded the famous Leibniz Prize, A Culture of Ambiguity does not just redefine the vast array of Islamic historical events, but also offers an inter-disciplinary model for studying the acceptance of ambiguity between cultures and time periods.
Product details
·         Publisher ‏ : ‎ Columbia University Press
·         Language ‏ : ‎ English
·         Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
·         ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0231170645
·         ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0231170642
·         Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.53 pounds
·         Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.14 x 0.88 x 9.21 inches

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