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Mattias Gori Olesen

Modernitetens sine qua non: Islamisk middelalderfilosofi og moderne reformisme

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The trope that modern Europe, emerging from its Dark Ages, is indebted to the Islamic Middle Ages is widespread. The article traces this ‘Islamic medievalism’ back to Muslim discourses of the late 19th and early 20th century. Focusing on the Egyptian intellectual Muhammad Lutfi Jum’a’s (1886-1953) portrayal of medieval Islam and its philosophers, as well as his mobilization of these within a reformist ideology, it argues the following: Firstly, that Jum’a’s medievalism, perceiving medieval Islamic philosophy as the sine qua non of European modernity, is indebted to readings of European orientalist histories of philosophy, demonstrating how medievalism emerged from a global discursive formation. Secondly, that Jum’a mobilized the medievalist argument and the philosophers to argue for the possibility of an alternative counter-modern Muslim and Eastern modernity, where the materialist and disenchanting tendencies of European modernity are negated – a vision he shared with other so-called Easternist thinkers, who conceived of Muslim countries as belonging to a broader East ranging from North Africa to Japan.
Translated title of the contributionModernity's sine qua non - Medieval Islamic philosophy and modern reformism
Original languageDanish
Article number5
JournalSlagmark - tidsskrift for idéhistorie
Pages (from-to)63-75
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

    Research areas

  • Islam, modernity, Islamic philosophy, medievalism, Easternism

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