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eBook The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization epub

by Richard Bulliet

eBook The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization epub
  • ISBN: 0231127960
  • Author: Richard Bulliet
  • Genre: History
  • Subcategory: World
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Revised edition (July 28, 2004)
  • Pages: 192 pages
  • ePUB size: 1590 kb
  • FB2 size 1484 kb
  • Formats doc rtf lrf docx


Pre-eminent Middle East scholar Richard W. Bulliet disagrees, and in this fresh, provocative book he looks beneath .

Pre-eminent Middle East scholar Richard W. Bulliet disagrees, and in this fresh, provocative book he looks beneath the rhetoric of hatred and misunderstanding to challenge prevailing-and misleading-views of Islamic history and a "clash of civilizations. These sibling societies begin at the same time, go through the same developmental stages, and confront the same internal challenges. Bulliet argues that beginning in the 1950s American policymakers misread the Muslim world and, instead of focusing on the growing discontent against the unpopular governments, saw only a forum for liberal, democratic reforms within those governments.

The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization. New York, USA: Columbia University Press.

This history may be deeper than the one presented by the Jews and Christians who reconcile after a long battle. The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization.

Informationen zum Titel The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization von Richard W. Bulliet [mit . This book offers a fresh perspective on . Muslim relations and provides the intellectual groundwork upon which to build a peaceful and democratic future in the Muslim world. Bulliet This book offers a fresh perspective on . Bulliet disagrees, and in this fresh, provocative book he looks beneath the . there is a far better case for 'Islamo-Christian civilization' than there is for a clash of civilizations.

Richard W. Bulliet is professor of history at Columbia University

References to this book. Richard W. Bulliet is professor of history at Columbia University.

He argues that modern European and Muslim history are deeply intertwined and that one cannot be understood in isolation from the other, thereby launching a profound challenge to teachers, historians and policy-makers. Juan Cole, University of Michigan The International Journal of Middle East Studies).

The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization

The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization. Pre-eminent Middle East scholar Richard W. Yet as Christianity grows rich and powerful and less central to everyday life, Islam finds success around the globe but falls behind in wealth and power.

Yet as Christianity grows rich and powerful and less central to everyday life, Islam finds success around the globe but falls behind in wealth and power. Books related to The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization. Modernization in the nineteenth century brings in secular forces that marginalize religion in political and public life. In the Christian world, this simply furthers a process that had already begun. In the Middle East this gives rise to the tyrannical governments that continue to dominate. Bulliet disagrees, and in this fresh, provocative book he looks . Bulliet disagrees, and in this fresh, provocative book he looks beneath the rhetoric of hatred and misunderstanding to challenge prevailing - and misleading - views of Islamic history and a ''clash of civilizations.

Conventional wisdom maintains that the differences between Islam and Christianity are irreconcilable. Pre-eminent Middle East scholar Richard W. Bulliet disagrees, and in this fresh, provocative book he looks beneath the rhetoric of hatred and misunderstanding to challenge prevailing―and misleading―views of Islamic history and a "clash of civilizations." These sibling societies begin at the same time, go through the same developmental stages, and confront the same internal challenges. Yet as Christianity grows rich and powerful and less central to everyday life, Islam finds success around the globe but falls behind in wealth and power.Modernization in the nineteenth century brings in secular forces that marginalize religion in political and public life. In the Christian world, this simply furthers a process that had already begun. In the Middle East this gives rise to the tyrannical governments that continue to dominate. Bulliet argues that beginning in the 1950s American policymakers misread the Muslim world and, instead of focusing on the growing discontent against the unpopular governments, saw only a forum for liberal, democratic reforms within those governments. By fostering slogans like "clash of civilizations" and "what went wrong," Americans to this day continue to misread the Muslim world and to miss the opportunity to focus on common ground for building lasting peace. This book offers a fresh perspective on U.S.-Muslim relations and provides the intellectual groundwork upon which to help build a peaceful and democratic future in the Muslim world.
Comments: (7)
Zeli
Bulliet, a learned, articulate, and persuasive writer, argues that we should reject Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" rhetoric and embrace the notion that Islamic/Middle Eastern Civilization and Christian/European Civilization are one. Sort of. I say "sort of," because he doesn't really think that Islam and Christendom form a single civilization; rather, he sees them as sibling civilizations that have each shaped the other's development much more profoundly than is commonly acknowledged today.

The strengths of Bulliet's book are, on one hand, in showing that Christianity and Islam, and Europe and the Middle East, have not merely been rivals, but have frequently had fruitful exchanges in the past; and, on the other hand, in critiquing Huntington's arguments and scholarship. These -- plus the slimmness of the volume and the fluidity of the writing -- make the book worth reading. (The biggest revelation to me was that when the Islamic Caliphate sprang up and began rapidly conquering territory, it almost immediately gained control of two of Christianity's five patriarchates and presumably a similar proportion of that day's Christians. This undoubtedly contributed to the Great Schism in Catholicism.)

The primary weakness of the book is apparent in its title. By making an argument about "civilization," Bulliet accepts Huntington's terms of argument. "Civilization" is a shorthand that both authors use for an amalgam of societies, religious institutions, empires, nation states, etc. To talk about Islamic and Christian "civilizations" as if these were clear and coherent entities persisting across time and space for centuries does too much violence to the historical record and weakens Bulliet's attempt to disarm manicheans like Huntington. What is "Christian civilization"? Is it the societies and cultures of Western Europe? Does it include the societies and cultures of Eastern Orthodoxy? What about Islamic civilization? Why doesn't it include (in Bulliet's reading) the Islamic world outside of the Middle East? Discussing history at the level of the "civilization" places the discussion on an extremely abstract plane that encourages vast overgeneralizations and distortions like Huntington's.

A minor criticism that also stems (partly) from the title has to do with Bulliet's displacement of "Judeo" by "Islamo" in "Islamo-Christian Civilization". The term "Judeo-Christian" is an Americanism that allows people to say that we're a Christian society without dissing what has until recently been America's largest non-Christian religion. The term also directs attention to Christianity's Jewish (Abrahamic) roots. Bulliet has no qualms about dismissing the "Judeo" part of the phrase because--at the risk of oversimplifying what he says--Jews have mostly been a powerless minority within Christendom over the past couple millenia and have not had the same kind of influence over Christian civilization that Islamic civilization has had. Thus, Christian civilization is more meaningfully described as Islamo-Christian than Judeo-Christian. While he clearly has a point, I still feel slighted (as a Jew).

One more thing about the title: On first reading, the title implies that Bulliet will be making a case for the fusion of Islamic and Christian civilizations. While he probably wouldn't oppose such a project, Bulliet's project is something else: arguing that Christian Civilization *is* Islamo-Christian Civilization. I can see why Bulliet didn't choose to title his book "The case for seeing our civilization as Islamo-Christian," but that is the book he wrote.
Amis
This is a very nuanced approach at analyzing the evolution of these two religions. What makes the author's approach so interesting is that it looks at both religions together and juxtaposes the two so that the reader can see how both shaped and were shaped by history, culture, geography and each religions own idiosyncrasies that came with the growth of both religious movements. This method shows the reader that neither was isolated, but both were actually in constant contact which influenced the growth of both movements. Whether it was Chistianity (and Judiasm) laying the ground work by acclamating peoples to the idea of monotheism which eventually allowed for Islam to make a smooth transition within its eventual spheres of influence, or whether it was the technological inovations that helped lead Europe into the enlightenment, both movements have greatly influenced each other.

The author's discussion of the differences between each religion's approach to governance actually goes a long way in explaining the differences between the two. Whereas Christianity directly confronted and faught wars with the political elites, Islam generally refrained from direct confrontation with the political establishment preferring an imperfect ruler to the potential anarchy of a civil war between the religious elite and the political elite. This meant that Europe was racked with the very anarchy and devastation that Islam's more acquiescent stance avoided in the Middle Ages. While Europe was languishing during the Thirty Years war, the areas under Islamic influence were flourishing. Of course later on these destructive wars helped Europe to centralize and create the first modern states later on that helped Europe to eventually move into ascendancy.

On the other hand Islam has not decided its course, and instead their is an uneasy wedding of corrupt regimes propped up by religious legitimacy. The problem being that the religious elites lose their legitimacy by condoning these despotic and corrupt regimes, and since Islam lacks the centralization of religous authority, Islam is seeing a crisis of authority.

The author looks at Middle East scholarship as well. He makes the case that most experts tend to look at the Middle East and Islam through the Western point of view. This often times has lead Western scholars to see only what they wanted to see from the beginning. The problem is this doesn't take into account that these societies have a different set of values and a different trajectory in their evolution. A Western-centric approach sees the Western style as the ideal and presupposes that Muslims will see this as well, and therefore will seek to emulate the West. This approach fails to understand that they may not see us as the ideal, but instead may seek to incorporate their own values and ideals into a synthesis with those Western ideals they find virtous. This means that, while Islam and societies with Islamic majorities are moving, the direction in all likely hood will not be the same direction as the West.

In the end this is only one way to look at these two religious movements, and what I really like is that the author is honest in his approach. In the very title the author makes clear that this is not the only way to analyze these movements. The author is simply making a case, and his case is quite compelling. I highly recommend this book.
Jek
This Middle East scholar has offered a different view of how we might perceive the dialogue/wrangle between Islamic countries and "Western" countries based in a religious background. I agree with his understanding, since so much of the political rhetoric about Islamic countries has utterly ignored the bedrock of their faith tradition.
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