Comparative Literalisms: An Assessment of Protestant Christian and Sunni Muslim Fundamentalist Scriptural Hermeneutics through the Writings of Falwell, Rushdoony, Qutb, and al-Maqdisi
This thesis questions the widespread claim that Protestant Christian and Sunni Muslim ‘fundamentalists’ share a similar approach towards the interpretation of their sacred texts, the Bible and the Qur’an. They are particularly singled out for their preference for hermeneutic ‘literalism’. For that matter, in this comparative study, I explore the concept of ‘literalism’, its meaning and methodological applications through surveying scriptural commentaries of four influential 20th-century figures, prominent in the academic literature on religious ‘fundamentalism’: Jerry Falwell, Rousas Rushdoony, Sayyid Qutb, and Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi. I examine what stands for ‘scriptural literalism’ for each of those authors and the way their ‘literalisms’ correlate and contrast with each other. On that basis, my study offers a typological systematisation of biblical and Qur’anic ‘literalisms’ in order to rectify terminological confusion and conflation which currently exist with regards to Protestant and Sunni ‘fundamentalist hermeneutics’.