Friday, November 12, 2010

"No categories require more careful handling these days,"

the ethicist Jeffrey Stout observes, "than tradition and modernity." [10] Not long ago, contrasts between "tradition" and "modernity" were a convenient shorthand way of explaining what particular societies had to get rid of in order to become part of the modern world. Increasingly, however, such dichotomous constructions have given way, in academic writing at any rate, to a recognition that "tradition" is not a monolithic entity any more than "modernity" is; that appeals to tradition are not necessarily a way of opposing change but can equally facilitate change; that what passes for tradition is, not infrequently, of recent vintage; and that definitions of what constitutes tradition are often the product of bitter and continuing conflicts within a culture. [11]
 -pg. 3 of The Ulama in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change by Muhammad Qasim Zaman [a phenomenal book that incidentally is one of Faiz Ahmed's top 5 favorite non-fiction books ever (fun fact) :)]

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