As long ago as 1996, Jon Levenson wrote an important article, “The Universal Horizon of Biblical Particularism.” In that piece he reflected on the way in which the Hebrew Bible adjudicated the particularity of Israel and a reach beyond Israel to the nations.
In the decade since 9/11, it seems as though every trade publisher and university press has brought forth a guide to the Qur’an for the perplexed. Carl Ernst eschews the usual method for books of this sort.
It is difficult to know what to say in response to Mona Eltahawy’s explosive article on the experience of women in Middle Eastern countries. She writes about a level of institutionalized brutality that demands that readers pay attention.
At the same time, she doesn’t say anything new, nothing that wasn’t already made too vividly clear during the Arab Spring.
Mention of Saudi Arabia conjures images of a fundamentalist kingdom where the government prohibits women from driving and forbids non-Muslims from holding religious services. The roots of the country's puritanical code go back several centuries.