There is some very interesting material in this book. It includes an excellent account of modern Arab enlightenment movements broadly defined, and their connections to attempts to establish a role for the use of reason in modern Islamic thought. The discussion of the concept of enlightenment in the Islamic world is limited to the Arab world and ignores everywhere else, but it is good to have an account of that cultural environment, and this book nicely counters the myth that the Arab world needs an enlightenment. As many have pointed out, there have been too many, rather than too few, enlightenments, or putative enlightenments.

The role of Ibn Rushd, or Averroes, in these enlightenments is a highly controversial issue. The author does well in describing how Ibn Rushd is used to sanction what people have said and done in the name of defending the role of reason in the Arab...

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