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Tafsir studies, due to its focus on reception history and tradition rather than on the origins of Islam, may be a locus of fruitful cooperation between the new field of Islamic theology and ‘regular’ Islamic studies that transcends the problematic dichotomy of insider/outsider perspectives. Redefining normativity as negotiating the future of Islam’s discursive tradition, arguably a shared concern of Islamic theologians and Islamicists, although their motivations differ, may be a way to further neutralise the conundrum of normativity in Islamic studies. I argue that ‘historically and sociologically informed normativity’ is the way forward for Islamic theology, and will make the field relevant beyond its own disciplinary boundaries.
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