For centuries, scholars in the Muslim scholars have engaged with the fields of theology, philosophy, logic and science. Analytic and systematic thought are present throughout Islamic intellectual history. These fields however are little understood today and are in danger of being neglected or lost forever.
The analytical techniques and disciplines that have evolved over centuries of wise scholarship are at great risk, and the pockets of scholarship that exist around the world focusing on this area are in urgent need of being supported to make the insights and heritage available to humanity.
In this light, Kalam Research & Media is undertaking a 9-year initiative, in collaboration with various institutional partners and the John Templeton Foundation, to help foster renewed interest in analytic thought in Islam. This effort needs to be more than just historic, and therefore, our goal is not just to recover scholarship but to place it in direct conversation with contemporary thought.
The initiative is divided into three phases which are designed to help build sustainable interest in a growing scholarly field.:
Phase 1: Providing the resources with which people can engage;
Phase 2: Providing a set of fora and opportunities through which scholarly opportunities in this area can be advanced; and
Phase 3: Building public understanding and interest in a burgeoning academic field.
The first phase of the project is running from 2013-2016. Through commissioning new foundational works we aim to support the contemporary scholarly understanding of Islamic theology, philosophy and logic. And through a set of collaborative activities we aim to reinforce and expand a vibrant network that crosses institutional, intellectual and geographical divides. Some of our activities include:
- Curating a catalogue of texts – classical, post-classical and contemporary – that narrate the key analytic texts in Islamic thought from the classical period until the present day..
- Commissioning nearly 50 works foundational for a contemporary understanding of Islamic analytic thought; including books, monographs, facsimile editions and translations.
- Creating a contemporary glossary of Kalam terms to put Islamic theological vocabulary into direct conversation with contemporary scholars in science, philosophy, philosophy of science and theology..
- Launching an online portal – Riwaq — to facilitate knowledge sharing, development of discourses and scholarly networking, among thinkers working in the areas of kalam, falsafa and mantiq.
- Convening a series of high-level working groups that seek to explore the relevance of Islamic theology, philosophy and logic to contemporary Big Questions.
- Conducting crash courses in Analytic Theologies with senior traditionally trained scholars of Kalam to foster greater exposure and understanding of the discourses in the contemporary philosophy of religion.
- Launching the Kalam Journal — a new interdisciplinary journal aimed at showcasing the best contemporary scholarship in the field, alongside book reviews and interviews.
- Creating an online annotation platform which allows scholars to annotate texts and enter into a kalam-centred dialectic on a global scale.