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Interpreting the divine word and appropriating a text

the Farāhī-Ricoeur thematic affinity

Abdul Rahim Afaki

pp. 161-172

This paper is an attempt to concretize the possibility of drawing parallels between Hamīd al-Dīn Farāhī's Qur'ānic hermeneutics, specifically his notion of Nazm al-Qur'ān, and Paul Ricoeur's conception of appropriating a text. Farāhī is of the view that the whole structure of the Qur'ān is thematically coherent. This coherence appears at both microscopic and macroscopic levels, which is to say, all of the verses of a sūrah of the Qur'ān are integrally related to each other to give rise to the major theme of the sūrah and again all of the sūrahs are interconnected with each other to constitute the major theme(s) of the Qur'ān as an organic whole. This notion of Nazm gives rise to the theme of autonomy of Qur'ānic text which can be comparable with the meanings of textual autonomy coming out of Ricoeur's project of appropriating a text. Ricoeur's objectivist hermeneutics regarding text as something autonomous finds a blurred area where it seems to be fused with Farāhī's Qur'ānic hermeneutics. Textual autonomy defines this blurred area owing to two traits. First, it releases the interpreter from the obligation of incorporating the socio-historical-cultural aspects of the author's life in the interpretation of text. Second, it enlightens the way for the interpreter to transform his life through the dictates of the hermeneutical appropriation of text.Focusing the notion of autonomy of text, this paper draws parallels between Hamīd al-Dīn Farāhī's Qur'ānic hermeneutics and Ricoeur's scheme of appropriating a text. The whole argument is divided into two parts. Part I deals with Farāhī's hermeneutical approach to the divine word as an autonomous text. The major thrust of discussion is the notion of Nazm al-Qur'ān (coherence of the Qur'ān). Part II is concerned with finding certain thematic affinities between Farāhī's Qur'ānic hermeneutics and Ricoeur's methodology of appropriating a text. In this regard, the notion of autonomy of text is to become the blurred area where the horizons of two distinct theoretical spheres are found fused.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-7902-0_13

Full citation:

Afaki, A.R. (2014)., Interpreting the divine word and appropriating a text: the Farāhī-Ricoeur thematic affinity, in N. Muhtaroglu & D. Quintern (eds.), Islamic philosophy and occidental phenomenology in dialogue, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 161-172.

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