Dr. Benjamin Geer completed his PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and his research employs a combination of sociology and cognitive linguistics. In this lecture on the Qur’an and the early history of Islam, he discusses the state of the art of scholarship and the academic debates that come with it.

By revealing social realities that political discourse obscures or misrepresents, sociology can promote mutual understanding and coexistence among people with different beliefs. On the other hand, perhaps some scholars are also concerned that any contradiction between sociological hypotheses and Muslim doctrine risks being perceived as supporting hostility towards Muslims. I think that there are ways to ask inconvenient questions while ensuring that one’s intentions are not misunderstood, and that the autonomy of social science is not served if such questions are avoided.

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