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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: October 2020

3 - “That Hideous Schizophrenia”


This chapter offers an intellectual genealogy of Muslim critiques of Christianity’s accounts of law and politics. It traces developments in Muslim critiques of Christian views of law from their initial focus on the corruption of scripture to contemporary arguments that connect the lack of a Christian sharī‘a with the rise of secularism. Ibn Taymiyya proves to be pivotal, combining early critiques of taḥrīf and the negative influences of Paul with a legal-political critique of Christian power. In response to colonialism, this legal-political reading of Christianity is expanded by a range of Muslim intellectuals into a critique of Christian response to secularism, Marxism, and societal injustice. The geneology argues that Muslim critiques of the secular are part of a longer discursive practice of distinguishing Islam from Christianity by way of taḥrīf and sharī‘a. Finally, the chapter considers what concrete challenges the Muslim thinkers present to a contemporary Christian political theology.