Encountering Traditions explores the emergence of a vibrant movement of intellectual exchange between Muslim and Catholic scholars and religious practitioners in twentieth century Egypt. It asks: how did the encounter between Islam and Catholicism lead to an ethical thematization of religious difference? These thematizations often delineated the similarity and distinctiveness of Islamic concepts, such as the Oneness of God; practices, such as sincerity and truthfulness; and sensibilities, such as inwardness. The project thus examines the cross-fertilization of ideas and practices and the co-constitution of intellectual and social histories of spirituality that come about through experiences of encounter with the religious other. Chapters will address meta-theoretical concepts such as: Certainty and Doubt; Inwardness; Divine Love; and Perfection.
An initial article from this book project, “Inwardness: Comparative Religious Philosophy in Modern Egypt,” is forthcoming in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. “Inwardness” centers the Islamic philosopher ʿUthman Amin in order to explore the intellectual exchange between Muslim and Catholic scholars in twentieth century Egypt. Specifically, I explore Amin’s philosophy of inwardness and its attendant virtues of seclusion, spiritual contemplation, and the jihad of the self, through the lens of an Islamic discursive tradition. How might we understand the concept of an Islamic discursive tradition, as a philosophy of reasoned and embodied religion, within the context of such interreligious encounters?